Facebook explains how nude user photos will be reviewed to counter revenge porn

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 10 Nov 2017
Facebook explains how nude user photos will be reviewed to counter revenge porn
  • Turns out some Facebook employees will indeed be able to view nude pictures sent by users to themselves on Messenger.

Two days ago, Facebook announced an experimental test programme to combat online revenge porn. The company, in collaboration with the Australian eSafety Commissioner’s Office, asked users to send their nude photos through Facebook Messenger to themselves. The purpose of this exercise is to permanently hash users’ nudes so that they cannot be misused in the future or posted across the company’s various platforms - Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

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Now, a blog post by Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety for Facebook explains how the process works. Facebook charts out multiple steps for Australians to submit their nudes for hashing through Facebook Messenger. Image hashing means that a numeric code will be assigned to the image and Facebook says it cannot be read by humans.

Australian users will need to complete an online form on the eSafety Commissioner’s official website. The eSafety Commissioner’s office will then notify Facebook of the form submission, post which the nude images sent by users to themselves will be reviewed and hashed by “a specially trained representative” from Facebook’s Community Operations team.

The social network had considered blurring images before they reach its “specially trained” operatives, but decided against it to avoid the accidental hashing of genuine images.

So yes, someone from Facebook will be reviewing these nude pictures submitted by users before they are hashed to prevent further misuse. “We store the photo hash—not the photo—to prevent someone from uploading the photo in the future. If someone tries to upload the image to our platform, like all photos on Facebook, it is run through a database of these hashes and if it matches we do not allow it to be posted or shared,” Facebook explains.

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Users who submitted their nude images will then be informed via the secure email they provided to the eSafety Commissioner’s office and will be asked to delete the photo from the Messenger thread on their device. Once they delete the image from the thread, Facebook will delete the image from its servers.

Digit NewsDesk
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