Late last year, we learned of Facebook’s plan to combat the spread of revenge porn through its services. The plan was admittedly a little weird, as it involved sending your own naked photos to yourself through Messenger and having a Facebook engineers create a unique hash for those images that would prevent them from being shared across the whole of Facebook. The company has fine-tuned its approach to revenge porn prevention in the months since we first heard about this initiative, and today it’s launching this new program in a few regions around the world.
In a post to the Facebook Safety page today, global head of safety Antigone Davis explains what has changed. First and foremost, Facebook has recruited a lot of partners to help with this initiative, 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.”
The process of getting an image blocked looks a little different than it did the first time we heard about this, as Facebook will now have you contact one of the partners listed above if you feel a compromising image may be shared on Facebook proper, Messenger, or Instagram. After submitting the required form, you’ll then receive an email with a secure upload link that can be used one time, which you can use to upload the image you think might be shared.
From there, the Community Operations Safety Team at Facebook will review the report and create a unique hash for the photo in question. The hash – not the photo – is then kept by Facebook and used to automatically block the image from appearing on any of Facebook’s services. Facebook says that all images submitted are deleted no more than seven days after the report has been received.
Beginning today, Facebook is launching this service in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia in what it calls a pilot program. Assuming it’s successful in keeping instances of revenge porn off Facebook, we’ll likely see it spread to other areas before long. What do you think of this initiative? Head down to the comments section and share your thoughts.