Facebook is testing a controversial new strategy they claim will help protect its users from becoming victims of revenge porn. The social media platform will then create a unique "digital fingerprint" of the intimate image in an effort to stop any copies of those images from being uploaded to either Facebook or Instagram by either a disgruntled lover or a hacker.
The system it is trying would prevent specific photos ever being uploaded to Facebook, Instagram or Messenger - but you do have to privately share them with Facebook first ...
In an interview, e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman addressed privacy concerns, claiming, "They're not storing the image, they're storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies".
Facebook is teaming up with four countries to test a preemptive system to detect and defend against "revenge porn".
In fact, Facebook's idea is to act before time since by posting the nude image the user can have the guarantee of him or her getting saved from being featured in any porn material that might depict them in future. Firstly, the user has to upload an explicit photo of themselves to the messenger (later delete the same from chat).
"Facebook is doing this in partnership with Australian government agency e-Safety in order to try to prevent people from sharing intimate images without consent".
There are laws against revenge porn, but the scourge is hard to fight against in practical terms.
It is believed that a full four percent of U.S. internet users are victims of revenge porn. Sending the message to yourself on Messenger allows Facebook to make a digital signature of said photo and hash it.
The user then reports the image and Facebook uses a cryptographic signature to identify that image, meaning that no else can upload it. While the scheme is starting out in Australia, it will also be trialed in the UK, Canada and the USA.
Facebook says it is not storing the photos, just the hashes of the photos. Sexually explicit photos, and the threat of publishing them for the world to see, can then be used for blackmail.
My hope and expectation is that Facebook will automate the process as much as possible, but that there may need to be some human involvement to review submitted images.