Facebook wants your nude photos to fight revenge porn

The aim is to prevent revenge-porn
The aim is to prevent revenge-porn

Facebook is urging users to send the company their nude pics to combat so-called revenge porn.


The social networking site will store a "fingerprint" of images to prevent any copies of them being shared by disgruntled ex-lovers.

The trial is in Australia, where studies suggest one in five women aged 18-45 may have had image-based abuse, with Facebook and its Messenger app accounting for 53 per cent of revenge porn, followed by Snapchat at 11 per cent then Instagram at four per cent.

Recent research by Melbourne's Monash University found people were falling prey to abusive behaviour on a "mass scale", and that both sexes were equally likely to be targeted.

Adults who have shared nude or sexually explicit photos with someone online, and who are worried about unauthorised distribution, can report images to the Australian government's eSafety Commission, who will in turn share it with Facebook.

They then securely send the photos to themselves via Messenger - a process that allows Facebook to "hash" them, creating a unique digital fingerprint.

This identifier is then used to block any further distribution on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger as a pre-emptive strike against revenge porn.

"We’re using image-matching technology to prevent non-consensual intimate images from being shared," said Antigone Davis, Facebook's head of global safety.

A Facebook spokesman said Britain, Canada and the United States are also expected to take part in the project.

"It removes control and power from the perpetrator who is ostensibly trying to amplify the humiliation of the victim amongst friends, family and colleagues," eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant told AFP.

Grant said that if successful, the Facebook trial should be extended to other online platforms.

"The precedent already exists for the sharing of child exploitation images and countering violent extremism online, and by extending to image-based abuse we are taking the burden off the victims to report to multiple online platforms," she said.

Prof Clare McGlynn, an expert from Durham Law School, described it as "an innovative experiment".

"I welcome Facebook taking steps to tackle this issue, as it has often been very slow to act in the past," she told the BBC. "However, this approach is only ever going to work for a few people and when we think of the vast number of nudes taken and shared each day, this clearly isn't a solution."