News and Commentary

Facebook Wants You To Send Nude Pics And Videos For Your Own Protection

Facebook wants you to send nudes — for your own protection, of course.

The social media platform is testing an anti-revenge porn initiative in Australia which entails users uploading their own nude images and videos via the Messenger app so Facebook can digitally “hash” the media and protect such content from being spread without consent.

“Facebook is doing this in partnership with Australian government agency e-Safety in order to try to prevent people from sharing intimate images without consent,” reports Tech Crunch. “If someone fears they are at risk of revenge porn, they can contact e-Safety. The organization might then tell them to send a nude photo of themselves to themselves via Messenger. Facebook’s hashing system would then be able to recognize those images in the future without needing to store them on its servers.”

According to e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, the nude uploads are not being stored; “they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies.”

“So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded,” Grant told ABC.

Obvious privacy concerns have already been made an issue.

“Although Facebook is using a hashing system to avoid storing the photos or videos directly on its servers, that the company has a bad reputation with regards to privacy and consumer trust means everyday users might think uploading directly to Messenger is the equivalent of posting revenge porn against themselves,” notes The Verge. “And because it’s just a test right now, there’s no telling whether the system can be easily tricked by altering aspects of the photo, sometimes in subtle and even imperceptible ways, to trick Facebook’s filters.”

Back in April, a similar anti-revenge porn initiative was launched here in the United States, where tagged explicit images were blocked from being re-shared.