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Facebook security to fight revenge nudes

Facebook Seeks Nude User Photos to Help Improve Revenge Porn Screening

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Facebook recently shocked its users with a request for their explicit photos in the hopes of using them to improve their ability to screen out revenge porn images. It is counting on users to voluntarily provide the social network with nude pics that it promises will never actually show up on the platform.

Will Facebook Users Hand Over Nude Photos of Themselves?

The social network is attempting to improve its security features in a spectrum of different ways. While many of the top headlines have included mentions of its strategy to block ads from certain Russian sources that intervened in the 2016 American presidential election, its efforts go further than that. In this particular case, the hope is to better protect users by blocking other people from posting revenge porn images of them.

The company’s goal is to make sure that even if a user tries to post a nude pic, the automatic image screening will stop it from ever appearing on Facebook’s platform. In this effort, it is requesting that Facebook users upload nude photo image files.

Facebook insists that they will not store any of the explicit photos. Instead, they are using them for the creation of a form of digital footprint. That footprint will be used to improve its image matching technology so that it will be able to identify any future uploads of copies of that picture or of similar pictures.

Tech Experts Warn of a Potential Backfire

According to Lesley Carhart, a digital forensics expert, there is still a potential risk to volunteers. Indeed, Facebook does not plan to store any of the images. However, those pictures must still be uploaded. It is in the uploading that a potential backfire could occur. Carhart explained that completely deleting a digital image isn’t as simple as it sounds.

“Yes, they’re not storing a copy, but the image is still being transmitted and processed. Leaving forensic evidence in memory and potentially on disk,” said Carhart. “It’s not trivial to destroy all trace of files, including metadata and thumbnails.”

The explicit photo program is currently in a pilot phase. Facebook is rolling it out in Australia, first, while working with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, the country’s government online safety agency.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.