Graphic by David Olson.
Would you send naked pictures if it meant preventing others from posting them?
That is the question Facebook has presented its users in a new campaign. The social media site is asking users to send in nude photos in an effort to combat revenge porn.
The pilot, currently being tested in Australia, has been described by the country’s eSafety Commissioner as a means of providing “a portal for people concerned that an intimate image may be shared online to report it to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, who will notify Facebook to prevent any instances of the image being uploaded after the notification has been actioned.”
A blog post by Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, provided more detail.
Individuals who have shared intimate images or videos that they worry may be posted non-consensually by current or former partners or harassers can upload the content and using Messenger, send the images to be “hashed.”
After the user has completed an online form through the website of Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, a member of Facebook’s Community Operations team reviews the submission and hashes it, which creates a digital fingerprint for the image or video.
Once this step is complete, Facebook will prompt the user, via email, to delete the photo from the Messenger thread on their device. Once the image is deleted from the thread, Facebook deletes it from their servers.
If successful, hashed sensitive videos or images will immediately be flagged and removed upon upload, regardless of any alterations made to the content.
The idea, to some, is unsettling.
“I think that’s really weird,” said Megan Wood, freshman early special education major, “if I want to send [nudes to someone] I should take in all the potential risks and it’s none of Facebook’s business if I’m not doing it through them.”
Julian Claudio, sophomore psychology major said he “wouldn’t do it [because] it’s private information.” He added that he “would try to limit anybody from having [my nudes] anyway.”
Although he does not feel he will take part, Oscar Nieto, freshman criminal justice major, feels this initiative is “a better alternative to [someone else] posting them.”
Alex Stamos, Facebook security chief, said this is a test to provide some option to victims to take back control. He further explained, stating that “the test will help [Facebook] figure out how best to protect people on our products and elsewhere.”
Facebook anticipates expanding testing in the near future to the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
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