Facebook Clarifies Controversial Revenge Porn Prevention

Facebook’s  revenge porn program has stirred up controversy. Revenge porn, best described as the practice of the sexually explicit portrayal of one or more people that is distributed without their consent via any medium, is also referred to as sexual cyberbullying. It is a growing problem with serious psychological effects, which has prompted Facebook to establish its program,without trampling of free speech. Trickly.

To avoid further misunderstanding, Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety further elaborated on in press statement Facebook position. Davis assured critics that Facebook will not be able to view, store or share the content but only have access to the photo hash. Facebook essentially creates a visual fingerprint for these images so whenever it’s uploaded without their consent, it is identified and removed. Reiterating it is still in the testing phase, Davis said that this is an emergency option so images aren’t shared, to begin with, and that it “can help prevent a much worse scenario where an image is shared more widely.”

revenge porn
Courtesy of The Cyberbullying Research Center. Copyrighted 2015.

Porn Revenge Victims

The Cyberbullying Research Center claims that victims of sexual cyberbullying are overwhelmingly young woman. Its 2015 study revealed that out of the 1,606 respondents from the ages of 18 to 30, 61% (about 980 people) said they had taken nude photos or videos of themselves and shared them with someone else, and 23% of respondents (361 people) had been victims of revenge porn. Earlier this month an Australian government agency, Office of the eSafety Commissioner, announced a collaboration with Facebook to stop the leaking of nude photos on their networks. Esafety Commissioner Julie Inman said that one out of five Australian women aged 18-45 have been victims of what she referred to as, “image-based abuse.” To prevent this, users fill out a form on the eSafety’s official website and send the photo to themselves on Facebook Messenger. Both Inman and Davis are confident their safety measures will ensure the security of user content on Facebook. Inman also mentioned that, “They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies.” As you can imagine, this didn’t sit too well once people understood that they would have to willingly upload their nude or mostly nude photos and trust that Facebook will take care of the rest.

Experts are Confident that their Safety Measures will Ensure Security of User Content Inside Facebook

Despite Davis’s attempt to ‘clarify’ the facts surrounding this controversial defense system, it didn’t say anything significant that wasn’t already known. However, it provided alternate options to prevent abuse, warn users this was still experimental and lists the specifics of trying out the program for yourself. He said that users should delete photos shortly after uploading so it is officially wiped from all servers. It also listed feedback from their working group on the effectiveness of this strategy. Executive Vice President and Founder of Safety Net Technology Project claimed this system was “a far better option than having these images shared with their friends, family members, colleagues or the general public with the intent to shame and embarrass them, and the horrible consequences that ensue.”

It’s not clear whether or not Davis’s blog post has given Australians a greater ease of mind. But in terms of credibility, Facebook has been on thin ice after their 2-day congressional hearing and revelations leaked from the Paradise Papers. Although these issues may seem only relevant in the States, the ethical nature of Facebook has potentially damaged the brand worldwide. This certainly does not help in building trust let alone the gesture that nude photos will always be in safe hands…by random people viewing it behind computer screens.

This program will eventually expand into the US, UK and Canada. It seems as if Facebook has come across a complex problem where even the solution puts the user(s) at an inconvenience. Would you trust Facebook with your nudes? If not, what would be your solution to preventing revenge porn?

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