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Facebook Expand Efforts to Prevent Intimate Images Being Shared Without Permission

Img: Marco Verch 
Be it the result of a nasty breakup, a devious opportunist, or a malicious act from a vindictive party or individual, the sharing of intimate images online for the purposes of revenge and/or humiliation, known as ‘revenge porn’, is an increasingly widespread and damaging issue. The ease with which such images can now be proliferated online is astounding, and as such individuals are more susceptible than ever to this form of spiteful and loathsome attack.

Late last year Facebook announced a somewhat controversial scheme aimed at tackling this issue, launched at the time exclusively in Australia. Basically the company were asking any individuals who may be concerned about their private photos being shared online to send them in themselves. The image would then be viewed on a single occasion by one of Facebook’s specially-trained representatives in order for it to be converted into a digital code which is then stored for later reference. The image itself is not saved, but the code allows Facebook’s system to detect if the same photo is then uploaded again, preventing others from sharing your most intimate snaps. The controversy of course stemmed from these “specially-trained representatives” who are asked to view these photos when they are sent in, though it is hard to imagine how such a system would work without some form of human involvement.

Despite any apparent controversy however Facebook are pressing forward with the scheme, expanding its reach beyond Australia to cover the US, Canada, and the UK.

Facebook’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis, explained how the program would work in a recent Facebook post:
  • Anyone who fears an intimate image of them may be shared publicly can contact one of our partners to submit a form
  • After submitting the form, the victim receives an email containing a secure, one-time upload link
  • The victim can use the link to upload images they fear will be shared
  • One of a handful of specifically trained members of our Community Operations Safety Team will review the report and create a unique fingerprint, or hash, [which] allows us to identify future uploads of the images without keeping copies of them on our servers
  • Once we create these hashes, we notify the victim via email and delete the images from our servers - no later than seven days
  • We store the hashes so any time someone tries to upload an image with the same fingerprint, we can block it from appearing on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger
If you are concerned about your private photos being shared online, and have no qualms about one of Facebook’s team seeing it once to ‘hash’ it, then the service may be of use. It still seems that the best way to prevent your intimate photos being shared online is to not take them in the first place, but it would be wrong to blame the victim in a situation like this; ultimately you are doing nothing wrong by sharing these moments with a partner, but they should be ashamed for breaking that trust.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Facebook Expand Efforts to Prevent Intimate Images Being Shared Without Permission Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, May 24, 2018 Rating: 5
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