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Facebook implements new ways to fight revenge porn

Yesterday, Facebook announced new tools that will prevent people from resharing so-called “revenge porn”, which is defined as “non-consensual intimate images”.

The social media giant will use a four-pronged approach to deal with the burgeoning issue.

The first approach relies on users reporting intimate images that look like they have been shared without permission. This will be done via a ‘Report’ link which appears when you tap the downward arrow on a post.

Second, specially trained representatives from Facebook’s Community Operations team will review the image and remove it if it violates the site’s Community Standards.

Third, Facebook will use photo-matching technologies to thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

Finally, Facebook will partner with safety organisations to offer resources and support to victims of the behaviour.

Punitive measures are also being introduced to discourage users from sharing revenge porn.

For example, if an account is found to be the primary source of the intimate images in question, the account will be disabled. However, Facebook will offer an appeals process if someone believes there was an error.

Those who attempt to “reshare” will receive an alert informing them that the content violates Facebook’s policies.

According to a recent survey by Data & Society, revenge porn is a form of online harassment that affects one in 25 Americans.

Although the phenomenon has been around as long as the web, the rise of social media has increased the potential damage that it can cause. The speed at which intimate content can be shared with family, friends, and colleagues has made revenge porn the kind of thing that can ruin someone’s career or even life.

Mischa Barton (right) is the latest celebrity victim of revenge porn.

Mischa Barton (right) is the latest celebrity victim of revenge porn.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page:

Revenge porn is any intimate photo shared without permission. 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.

As Facebook heads towards 2 billion users worldwide, it states that revenge porn is part of the social network’s “five areas of focus” (supportive, safe, informed, civically-engaged and inclusive) for the building of a global community.

But revenge porn isn’t just limited to images and prerecorded video anymore. Facebook will also have to deal with the new issue of sexual assaults (and murders) happening on Facebook Live.

The U.S. isn’t the only country where people suffer from revenge porn. According to a recent investigation by News Corp, there have been more than 350 complaints made to the Australian office of eSafety since October last year.

In order to combat the problem on our shores, the Australian Government has set up a portal for lodging revenge porn complaints.

At present, SBS reports that only one Australian state (Victoria) has specific revenge porn legislation in place to deal with offenders. There, offenders can face up to two years imprisonment for distributing images and up to one year for threatening to do so.

If you or someone you know is the victim of revenge porn, contact eSafety for more information.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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