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Facebook Wants Nude Pics to Combat Revenge Porn

Facebook is trialing a new way to tackle revenge porn which involves users sending the social network nude pics of themselves.

The pilot project is taking place in Australia in partnership with the government, and is based around a system of image 'hashing'.

Users who think they might have been the victim of revenge porn are encouraged to actually send themselves the images in question via Messenger.

The social network then apparently applies hashing technology to create a unique digital fingerprint of the image, so that if another user tries to upload it the image will be blocked.

Australian e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, was at pains to point out that the images would not end up on the social network’s servers.

"They're not storing the image, they're storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” she told broadcaster ABC.

It’s unclear whether hashing technology is good enough to deal with attempts to circumvent such AI filters, which involve changing the original image in a minute way.

There may also be concerns over sending such highly sensitive images to a firm which has struggled in the past to allay user concerns over security and privacy — even if users are effectively messaging themselves.

“Conceptually the idea has merit but it would work better if the user was provided a self-service tool to accomplish the task and upload the file up to a Facebook portal,” One Identity EMEA director, Andrew Clarke told Infosecurity.

ESET security specialist Mark James raised concerns that the service could potentially be abused by scammers.

“The likelihood of Facebook being compromised is slim of course, but if the user was tricked into sending them to a third party — that could open them up for further abuse,” he told Infosecurity. “Of course, we always encourage people to be very careful about where they store intimate photos and preferably to not store them online in any form.”

The new pilots — which are taking place in three countries besides Australia — are just part of a series of measures Facebook has been rolling out to combat the growing social problem of intimate images shared without the subject’s permission. 

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