Facebook Is Testing Revenge Porn Tools That Can Stop Explicit Images From Ever Being Shared

"The safety and well-being of the Facebook community is our top priority."

Just days after Twitter revised its revenge porn guidelines, Facebook announced it is testing revenge porn tools of its own. However, what's different about how the Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant hopes to combat revenge porn is that it wants to stop sexually explicit material from ever being shared in the first place.

Revenge porn, which is defined as sexually explicit images or videos of a person that have been shared on the Internet without the consent of the subject, can spread with astonishing speed and have lasting emotional and psychological effects for the victims. If Facebook can, in fact, stop the distribution of sexually explicit media before it's even shared, that could be revolutionary.

According to Mashable, the pilot is testing in Australia first, followed by the U.S., UK and Canada, and it marks the extension of a new set of reporting tools first announced back in April that will impact how intimate images are shared on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. 

Prior to these new tools Facebook simply flagged images, which were then reviewed by the company's Community Operations team, but now the goal is to be one step ahead. For example, if someone is concerned their ex may share an intimate image online without their consent, they could report the image to their country's eSafety office (even before it's shared) and these new tools will prevent it from ever being posted or shared. 

"The safety and well-being of the Facebook community is our top priority," Facebook's head of global safety, Antigone Davis, told Mashable in a statement, adding image matching technology is what's being used to prevent non-consensual intimate images from circulating on the platform. "These tools, developed in partnership with global safety experts, are one example of how we're using new technology to keep people safe and prevent harm."



Per a 2017 report from the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative that surveyed over 3,000 adults, one in eight social media users have been targets of revenge porn. The nonprofit organization also noted nearly 16 percent of women surveyed were victimized or threatened, and found women are 1.7 times more likely to be targeted with revenge porn than men.  

Aside from being the first country to see Facebook's pilot program in action, Australia recently announced it has become the first country to combat revenge porn on a national level by developing a portal that provides support and reporting tools for victims. 

After years of inaction, it's refreshing to see tech companies and countries alike take serious steps in address the revenge porn crisis.

Cover image via Shutterstock. sergey causelove

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