Facebook is testing a new tool to fight revenge porn in Australia, but there is a rather awkward catch: Facebook needs you to send the platform your nudes first. If you're afraid a photo of yours might be shared on Facebook by, let's say, a excommunicated ex or a spurned spouse, you share that photo with Facebook, and they block that photo from ever showing up.
ABC News reports that the system is being trialled in Australia and three other countries. When asked how a photo will look to a Facebook employee once a user uploads it, Weaver said that in order to determine whether an image is objectionable, "it has to be clearly visible". Anytime someone tries to upload a photo, it is checked against that fingerprint and rejected if it matches.
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"This partnership gives Australians a unique opportunity to proactively inoculate themselves from future image-based abuse by coming to our portal and reporting tool", said Julie Inman Grant, Australia's eSafety Commissioner, in a statement.
In April, Facebook announced that it would take steps to combat "revenge porn". There's no word yet on how long the trial may run.
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Grant went on to reassure everyone that Facebook is not storing the images, but is merely storing a link or digital fingerprint to the images.
Partnering with the Australian government's eSafety Office, the Menlo Park, California-based tech giant will accept the naked selfies via its Messenger app from persons who fear, for example, that a jilted lover has or is about to share images that are intimate in nature.
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It's not known if the new pilot project in Australia will come to Canada or the U.S. Once you report an image, "specially trained representatives" from Facebook's Community Operations review it and, if it's found to be in violation of the social network's Community Standards, take it down. Sending the message to yourself on Messenger allows Facebook to make a digital signature of said photo and hash it. Roughly four percent of US internet users have been victims of revenge porn, according to a 2016 Data & Society Research Institute report. More protections for people who could be affected by revenge porn are desperately needed, but this method of protecting privacy has some people unnerved.
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