Facebook Wants To Curb Revenge Porn With Image-Matching Tech

Facebook logos are pictured on the screens of a smartphone and a laptop computer in central London on November 21, 2016.(Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The original social media giant is expanding its efforts to reduce online shame campaigns with added tools designed to give users more hands-on and built-in protection.

Facebook announced today that the platform will include new features aimed at stopping the spread of “revenge porn,” or sexually explicit images that are shared without subjects’ consent, done for a range of malevolent reasons. According to the site, the changes will allow users to easily report photos of this specific nature while also informing Facebook’s system to be on the lookout.

Users who want to flag revenge porn as officially inappropriate content will now see an additional check-box for designating the cause of their objection, labeled “nude photo of me.” Once notified, the site then uses its photo-matching technology to prevent the same image from being shared again (since, as we all know, there are bountiful ways of hanging onto something that’s shown up online). According to the company, this technology will serve to detect when someone tries to share the same image again on Facebook, it’s Messenger app, or on Instragram, which will then stop such users in the act while alerting them of the violation.

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A woman identified as ‘Chantal’ (R) and her lawyer sat in court on June 11, 2015 in Amsterdam during a hearing in her lawsuit against Facebook, in which she sued the social network after a video of her performing a sex act on her boyfriend was posted on the site. The Dutch court ordered Facebook to hand over the identity of someone who posted the video on the network, or face having its servers opened up to an outside investigator. (Credit: ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

As Reuters noted, the practice of distributing so-called revenge porn “disproportionately affects women, who are sometimes targeted by former partners,” and Facebook has faced lawsuits here and abroad from targeted users who thought the platform should have been working harder to fight it. In the past two years, the company has taken some steps to put more human talent on the matter, and it established in 2015 that photos “shared in revenge” violated its terms of service.

Facebook Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis told TechCrunch that the new tagging option and response were created to be “very specific to these types of intimate images.” She added, “We’ve focused in on this because of the unique harm that this kind of sharing has on its victims … I think that’s where the focus was for this moving forward.”

The company also announced recent initiatives to protect users with help and input from victim and social advocacy groups, including collaborations the Revenge Porn Helpline and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a “one-stop destination for victims and others to report this content to the major technology companies,” and a Facebook-specific guide.

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Janet Burns covers tech, culture, and other fun stuff from Brooklyn, NY. 

[“Source-forbes”]