Facebook attempts to combat revenge porn, but needs users' nude photos

- Facebook is looking to combat the growing market of revenge porn.

In a trial feature to be tested in Australia, the social media giant is allowing its users to send in naked photos so they can then block those photos from being uploaded by someone else.

Believe it or not, there’s a big market for revenge porn. It is illegal in the state of California to send distribute sexual images or videos of someone without their consent, but experts say we’re seeing it happen more often.

Facebook is trying to prevent these nude photos or videos from surfacing on their social platform by offering a pretty unique service to its users.

'Send me your naked photos and I’ll make sure to keep them safe'. That’s basically what Facebook is saying with a new trial they’re launching to prevent revenge porn from poisoning their social platform.

Why? Reportedly 54,000 cases of sexually explicit photos and videos are shared without a person’s consent and reported to Facebook each month.

KTVU tech expert Ryan Eldridge with Nerds On Call, breaks down how this service would work.

“Use Facebook Messenger to message yourself the naked photo that you want to prevent being shared online and then Facebook then would use an algorithm to find if anyone posted that photo and then block that photo from going live,” said Eldridge. 

Facebook has said it plans to use the images to create a database of photos that can be blocked from being uploaded in the future.

“It’s a little bit creepy to hand over a naked photo or very intimate photo of yourself to a computer and trust that the people on the other end aren’t also going to be able to see and use and distribute that photo if somehow they become disgruntled or angry,” said Eldridge.

Just last week a rogue employee with Twitter shut down President Donald Trump’s account for about 10 minutes, begging the question, how much access do these employees have?

The same can be said for Facebook.

When asked if people would be comfortable handing over intimate photos to Facebook, most people said they would not send any photos to Facebook. Others said they needed more information about how these photos would be stored. 

“It would be nice to hear from Facebook specifically about what protections they’re putting in place, is this simply just an AI system where there is no employee access where it just kind of happens automatically, or who does have access? How is it stored? How is it encrypted?” asked Eldridge. 

We reached out to Facebook for comment but haven’t heard back.

According to research from the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in 2015, more than 80 percent of adults surveyed admitted to sexting in the prior year.

This initial post failed to indicate that this is a trial being tested in Australia. That detail has been added.
 

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