Want To Keep Your Nudes Off Facebook? Send Them To Facebook

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — How much do you trust Facebook? Enough to send the social media giant nude photos of yourself?

The company is trying to stop a mean-spirited sexual reveal on its platform, but you’d have to send Facebook your explicit pictures first.

The issue was front and center in the Sacramento area several years ago when a Woodland man who operated a revenge porn website was convicted in federal court.

So, exactly how will Facebook fight this online shaming? It’s an unusual idea and one that makes many uneasy, but Facebook says it will handle the intimate images with care, and more importantly says the photos will never be stored.

Racy photos intended for lovers eyes only often end up on social media after a nasty break-up, with one an angry ex looking to get even. It’s called revenge porn, and it turns out Facebook has the ability to block those private pictures from ever getting posted in the first place, but only if you send the provocative photos to Facebook’s engineers first.

Facebook Head of Global Security Antigone Davis said, “It’s an intimate, naked photo of you; that’s a hard thing to share. So, we really want to work with our partners. How are we going to figure out how to do this in a way that’s the least intrusive, and most sensitive.”

Facebook has launched a pilot program in four countries, including Australia.

So, how does it work?

First, you send yourself the photos you want blocked through Facebook Messenger. In Australia, you’d then contact the Office of E-Safety, and file a report. E-Safety then works with Facebook to capture a so-called hash of the photo, not the photo itself.

“Basically give the photo a fingerprint, and then we keep the fingerprint. We don’t keep the photo. And the next time somebody tries to share that photo on our platform, it’s run through a data bank of those fingerprints. If it hits that fingerprint and matches, it won’t be shared on our platform,” said Davis.

In 2015, revenge porn website operator Hunter Moore of Woodland was sentenced to prison for stealing and posting personal photos. CBS13 spoke with one of his victims back then who says her life was changed forever.

“You’re heart drops to your stomach, and you don’t know what to do,” said Tara Nicole in a 2013 interview.

Facebook is now offering up an unconventional strategy. The question is, how much do you trust it?

San Jose State Journalism Professor Matt Cabot said, “Well, I think that Facebook will do what they say they’re gonna do. But the idea that somehow, it wouldn’t be online somewhere, I don’t trust that, and as I tell my students once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put it back in the bottle.”

Facebook plans to test this strategy out in the United States in the future.

More from Angela Greenwood
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