Facebook has a new game plan for stopping revenge porn campaigns on Messenger and Instagram, and it involves users sending their nudes to themselves using Facebook’s servers before someone else actually shares them.
The idea is that the best way to combat revenge porn if you suspect someone would do that to you is to teach Facebook’s algorithms how you look naked, so pictures of you can’t be shared online using Facebook’s services.
That may sound strange, but Facebook is apparently serious about the matter. The giant social network partnered with a small Australian Government agency, according to ABC.au to prevent revenge porn using this program.
First, you have to get in touch with the e-Safety Commissioner (Julie Inman Grant in this case), and then they might instruct you to upload your nudes to Facebook Messenger in a conversation with yourself.
“It would be like sending yourself your image in email, but obviously this is a much safer, secure end-to-end way of sending the image without sending it through the ether,” Grant said.
Once the nudes are inside Facebook’s systems, the servers will “hash” the images, which means it’ll create unique fingerprints for them.
They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” the commissioner said. “So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded.”
That way, your photo will never show up on any of Facebook’s servers.
Australia is one of the four countries included in this “industry-first” pilot that relies on “cutting-edge” technology to prevent revenge porn. “The safety and wellbeing of the Facebook community is our top priority,” Facebook’s head of global safety Antigone Davis said.
Revenge porn appears to be a pretty serious business in Australia where one in five women aged 18-45 and one in four Indigenous Australians are victims of “image-based abuse.” While Facebook’s solution may prevent some abuse cases, it doesn’t mean that people won’t use other means of sharing nude photos. The best way of avoiding revenge porn is to stop sharing nudes with people.