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Facebook’s latest tech can recognize revenge porn and stop it before it’s shared

Facebook’s latest tech can recognize revenge porn and stop it before it’s shared

Facebook is rolling out new weapons to combat “revenge porn,” offering tools to flag inappropriate images and keep them from being shared again, the company announced Wednesday.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook,” Antigone Davis, the company’s head of global security, wrote in a blog post.

Revenge porn — the online sharing of sexually explicit photos without the subject’s consent, often to harass, blackmail, or humiliate — has long been a problem for Facebook. The company has been sued multiple times by people claiming that the network could have done more to stop their intimate photos from being repeatedly posted without their consent.

But starting on Wednesday, Facebook users will be able to report images that were shared without their permission, flagging them as “a nude image of me.” After a specially trained Facebook team reviews the report and the image, the team can choose to remove the photo and even disable the account that shared it.

Facebook will then use new photo-matching technology to automatically keep the image from being shared again on Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram (which Facebook owns).

To craft the tools, Facebook partnered with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit that aims to stop the spread of “non-consensual pornography” and help its victims. In a statement, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative said that Facebook has now “raised the bar for the tech industry’s response to online abuse.”

“It’s wrong, it’s hurtful, and if you report it to us, we will now use AI and image recognition to prevent it from being shared across all of our platforms,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said of revenge porn, in a post about the rollout.

One in 25 Americans has been threatened with or suffered from people posting sexually explicit images without consent, according to a survey from the Data & Society Research Institute. Young women are particularly at risk — one in 10 women under 30 has been a victim of revenge porn.

Facebook’s news also comes in the wake of several high-profile revenge porn scandals involving the social network, including the revelation that members of the U.S. Marine Corps used a private Facebook group to share, solicit, and make violent sexual comments about photos of their female comrades.

 

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