In what seems like the headline from a spoof news website, social media website Facebook is actually asking its members to send nudes.
No, seriously, it is!
But why is Facebook acting like a manipulating, sleazy boyfriend? Has someone at Facebook managed to push through their dark agenda? Has Facebook changed tact and decided to become an adult website?
No, Facebook is asking users to send their nudes so it can better protect them against their nudes being exposed – if you pardon the pun.
Does this sound like a feeble excuse to you as well? Imagine speaking with a police detective or private investigator about your nudes being stolen and them telling you “yes I can help you, but first I need to see them all”. It just doesn’t sit right. So what is Facebook playing at? What excuse has the social media website given for asking its users to ‘send nudes’?
It’s actually very technical. If you have an image you think someone else may be tempted to share- someone such as an ex-partner – you can protect against it being shared by sending the image to Facebook in advance for it to be ‘hashed’. Facebook will convert the image into a digital fingerprint, so that any future attempts to upload the same image by someone else will instantly be blocked.
This move is very preventative, and is for people who are concerned they may become the victim of ‘revenge porn’ – a growing issue around the web.
A lawyer based in New York, Carrie Goldberg, specialises in these kinds of cases. She commented:
“We are delighted that Facebook is helping solve this problem – one faced not only by victims of actual revenge porn but also individuals with worries of imminently becoming victims.
“With its billions of users, Facebook is one place where many offenders aggress because they can maximize the harm by broadcasting the nonconsensual porn to those most close to the victim. So this is impactful.”
According to figures released in a 2016 report*, as many as 10% of women under the age of 30 in the US have had images or video of themselves shared online against their will. The move by Facebook hopes to stop this happening at the first hurdle.
Once the images are uploaded and hashed by Facebook, they cannot be uploaded by anyone else. The images are stored for a brief period by Facebook before being deleted.
The photos are hashed using technology called PhotoDNA, which uses a photo database also used by Google and Twitter. One of the professors who helped develop PhotoDNA, Hany Farid, believes the plan by Facebook is a “terrific idea”.
So far, this move by Facebook is just a trial, and is only active in Australia, but the company is looking to roll out the trial in other countries.
What do you think of this trial by Facebook? Are you pleased to see the company take such action? Do you think it will work?
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