Revenge porn: Facebook teaming up with Government to stop nude photos ending up on Messenger, Instagram

November 02, 2017 16:54:03

If you’ve had a nude photo taken, you might be nervous about where it could end up.

Key points:

  • Facebook working with e-Safety Commissioner to block image sharing
  • You could flag photos of you don’t want circulated, then they cannot be uploaded again
  • Images sent to database won’t be stored

Your phone may be hacked or a relationship turn sour, meaning the “revenge porn” picture could be made public without your say so.

Now, Facebook is partnering with a small Australian Government agency to prevent sexual or intimate images being shared without the subject’s consent.

e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said victims of “image-based abuse” would be able to take action before photos were posted to Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.

“We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” Ms Inman Grant said.

One in five Australian women aged 18-45 and one in four Indigenous Australians are victims of that abuse, she said.

How will it work?

If you’re worried your intimate photos will end up on Instagram or Facebook, you can get in contact with the e-Safety Commissioner. They might then tell you to send the images to yourself on Messenger.

Yep, you heard that right. Send your own nudes … to yourself.

“It would be like sending yourself your image in email, but obviously this is a much safer, secure end-to-end way of sending the image without sending it through the ether,” Ms Inman Grant said.

Once the image is sent via Messenger, Ms Inman Grant said Facebook would use technology to “hash” it, which means creating a digital fingerprint or link.

“They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” she said.

“So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded.”

If the program goes according to plan, the photo will never show up on Facebook, even if a hacker or your ex tries to upload it.

Richmond medal photo recent example

Ms Inman Grant said image-based abuse could be an “incredibly devastating experience” for victims.

“A very recent example is of course what happened with the Richmond Football Club and the image of the young girl with the sports memorabilia on her bare chest. She had asked the player to delete it, he said he did, instead it was sent to a few mates and ended up on the internet,” she said.

Richmond’s Nathan Broad was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 AFL season, after the photo went viral.

The e-Safety Commissioner said safeguards would ensure the photos would be secure inside Facebook.

“They thought of many different ways about doing this and they came to the conclusion as one of the major technology companies in the world that this was the safest way for users to share the digital footprints,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“We have a great deal of comfort that they have chose the most secure route … we want to empower people to be able to protect themselves and take action, we don’t want to make them vulnerable.”


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