Facebook asks users to upload nude photos to ensure they are not used for 'revenge porn'

The site will catalogue images and then ban them from being shared on the site

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 23 May 2018 15:26 BST
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The Facebook and WhatsApp applications' icons are displayed on a smartphone on February 20, 2014 in Rome
The Facebook and WhatsApp applications' icons are displayed on a smartphone on February 20, 2014 in Rome (AFP)

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Facebook will ask its users to upload nude photos in an attempt to keep them safe.

The company will scan through the images and ensure that they are not allowed to be uploaded to the site. The feature is an attempt to stop so-called revenge porn, when sensitive images are uploaded to the internet to attack the person shown in them.

To stop that, the site will ask its users to upload any images they think might be able to used to harm them. The images will then be assigned a digital fingerprint so that any attempts to upload them can be stopped.

That fingerprint will be checked against any pictures shared on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger. If they match, then the picture won't be able to be uploaded or shared.

When people send their naked photos to Facebook, they will be viewed by a member of staff. The company claims those people will be "specifically trained".

If those people approve the pictures as the kind of intimate images that should be banned, the special fingerprint or "hash" will be created of the image. The photo itself can then be deleted from Facebook's servers, and only the fingerprint will be stored – presumably meaning the image will stay safe even if Facebook's servers are compromised.

The pictures will still have to be uploaded and then viewed by a stranger, however. And it is not clear how long the images will stay on Facebook's servers.

The pilot programme will initially roll out in Australia, Canada, the UK and US.

The company said the tool had been introduced "in partnership with an international working group of safety organizations, survivors, and victim advocates, including the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and The National Network to End Domestic Violence in the US, the UK Revenge Porn Helpline, and YWCA Canada".

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