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Facebook wants your nude photos to fight revenge porn

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(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

AUSTRAILIA – On Thursday, Facebook announced it created a pilot program to fight revenge porn.

The program asks those who fear their intimate photos may be shared on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger to send the photos to Facebook's special team for review.

The special team "creates a human-unreadable, numerical fingerprint of it" and stores it as a "photo hash" to prevent someone from uploading the photo in the future.

Like all photos, the image will be cross-examined in a database of "photo hashes" and if it matches a flagged photo, Facebook will prevent it from being posted or shared.

The pilot program is limited to Australia.

To minimize confusion, Facebook explained how the program works:

  • Australians can complete an online form on the eSafety Commissioner’s official website.
  • To establish which image is of concern, people will be asked to send the image to themselves on Messenger.
  • The eSafety Commissioner’s office notifies us of the submission (via their form). However, they do not have access to the actual image.
  • Once we receive this notification, a specially trained representative from our Community Operations team reviews and hashes the image, which creates a human-unreadable, numerical fingerprint of it.
  • 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.
  • Once we hash the photo, we notify the person who submitted the report via the secure email they provided to the eSafety Commissioner’s office and ask them to delete the photo from the Messenger thread on their device. Once they delete the image from the thread, we will delete the image from our servers.
  • According to Facebook, the photos are not saved on Facebook servers, and eSafety Commissioner workers will not be allowed access to the photos.