TECH
23/05/2018 16:17 BST | Updated 23/05/2018 16:45 BST

Facebook Wants You To Send It Naked Photos So It Can Stop Revenge Porn

Yes, you read that correctly.

Facebook is trialling a new initiative where it asks users to temporarily send naked pictures of themselves to the social network in order to prevent revenge porn.

The trial works by turning the image into a ‘digital fingerprint’ which then allows Facebook to recognise if someone ever tries to upload it in future, whether that’s on Facebook, Messenger or Instagram.

Now if the thought of sharing your nudes with Facebook doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence then it’s worth pointing out that not only has the company partnered with the UK’s Revenge Porn Helpline but that the system has also been designed with discretion and security in mind.

Here’s how it works:

If you’re worried that someone might imminently share an intimate photo of you on the site you can reach out to the UK’s Revenge Porn Helpline where you’ll be asked to fill out a form.

When the form has been reviewed you’ll be sent a secure one-time link where you’ll be asked to upload the photos to Facebook’s secure servers.

Once uploaded Facebook says that a “handful of specifically trained members of our Community Operations Safety Team” will then review the images. Using advanced image recognition algorithms the team will then use the image to create a unique fingerprint or ‘hash’ that allows Facebook to recognise the image without having to keep copies of it on its servers.

With that digital fingerprint of the image now stored in Facebook’s servers the team then lets you know via email and in turn permanently deletes the images. This all happens within seven days of the image being processed.

Writing in a Facebook post, Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at the social network explained why the company had created the feature.

“My team and I have traveled to nine countries across four continents, listening to stories about the abuse and cruelty that women face online. From Kenya to Sweden, women shared their painful, eye-opening experiences about having their most intimate moments shared without permission,” she explains.

“From anxiety and depression to the loss of a personal relationship or a job, this violation of privacy can be devastating. And while these images, also referred to as “revenge porn” or “non-consensual pornography,” harm people of all genders, ages and sexual-orientations, women are nearly twice as likely as men to be targeted.”

Facebook

According to the Revenge Porn Helpline the trial is live now and while it’ll be available to anyone it’s primarily designed for people who feel they’re in immediate danger of having intimate pictures of them shared online.

The UK’s Revenge Porn Helpline has had some 11,000 calls since its formation in 2015 and while just 10% of those calls related to images on social media, the hope is that this feature can provide a quick and powerful weapon against what is a potentially devastating act.

Facebook’s photo-matching technology has actually been running for some time and was first introduced for pictures that had already been uploaded to the site.