Facebook launches new tools to crack down on revenge porn

"Revenge porn" refers to the sharing of sexually explicit images on the internet, without the consent of the people depicted in the pictures, in order to extort or humiliate them. Photo-matching software will allow Facebook to prevent pictures that have been removed from surfacing again, at least on its own site.

Facebook unveiled a new system today that it hopes will cut down on revenge porn shared on its services. If it violates Facebook's Community Standards, the picture is removed, and in most cases, the user that posted it will have their account disabled.

"We then use photo-matching technologies to help thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram", Ms Davis said.

Policing such images has proven a hard task for Facebook and other social networks that deal with a flood of posts each day and have not always consistently enforced their policies regarding graphic images.

The term "revenge porn", though frequently used, is somewhat misleading. We also launched a guide specific to Facebook.

Prosecutors and lawmakers have also sought ways to prevent the spread of "revenge porn", seeking additional penalties for a practice that they said has ruined careers and families and even led to suicide.

"David then described how the technology will work: "If someone sees an intimate image on Facebook that looks like it was shared without permission, they can report it using the "Report" link that appears when they tap the downward arrow or "..." next to a post.

From there, members of Facebook's Community Operations team review the image.

Facebook noted a study of USA victims of "non-consensual intimate images" saying that 93% report "significant" emotional distress and 82% report "significant" impairment to the social and other aspects of their life. Davis said in the post that Facebook has worked with the group to create a "one-stop shop" for reporting revenge porn images posted on multiple sites. There is an opportunity for the user to appeal if the photo was taken down in error.

"We convened over 150 safety organizations and experts a year ago in Kenya, India, Ireland, Washington DC, New York, Spain, Turkey, Sweden and the Netherlands to get feedback on ways we can improve", the company said.

  • Arturo Norris