If You Want To Use Facebook's Revenge Porn Blocker, An Employee Will Have To Review Your Uncensored Photo

Facebook announced on yesterday that it is deploying a new revenge porn reporting tool, first piloted in Australia, that will allow users to send photos that they don't want shared online directly to Facebook. Facebook says its community operations team will use a hash system to prevent the photo from being shared across Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. But before an image is hashed, your intimate photos will be looked at by someone at Facebook.

Photo: Getty

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast today that a staffer will first have to look at the uncensored version of the image in order to make sure that the uploaded content fits the definition of revenge porn. What's more, images will be blurred and stored by Facebook and "available to a small number of people," according to the Daily Beast.

"The photo has to be examined by a human first to make sure it is actually objectionable per policy," security researcher Nicholas Weaver told Gizmodo in an email. "Otherwise, someone could upload the famous 'tank man' photo, call it revenge porn, and censor it that way." When asked how a photo will look to a Facebook employee once a user uploads it, Weaver said that in order to determine whether an image is objectionable, "it has to be clearly visible." It is not until after it is determined so that it will become unidentifiable.

While giving users the power to get ahead of abusers by preemptively uploading any media they don't want shared online isn't inherently bad, requiring a stranger to look at the uncensored content leaves a lot of room for improvement. For one, Facebook's system still requires you to put a ton of trust in an unknown Facebook employee or contractor, and not mind that they are looking at photos you'd otherwise not want to be seen.

This policy puts the responsibility on users to prevent anticipated abuse, and it also signals that Facebook doesn't totally trust its beloved algorithms to do the job. The company has praised its use of machine learning as a way to deal with harassment and fake news. But it still seemingly doesn't have a sophisticated enough algorithm to determine whether a photo or video can be considered revenge porn.

We reached out to Facebook for comment but had not heard back at time of writing.

WATCH MORE: Tech News


Comments

    There are plenty of naughty selfies online. Why does facebook not use these instead of creating their own collection of naughty selfies.

      Because a random naughty selfie has a different hash to your one.

    It is amazing how little I am exploited since I stopped using social media..

      Social media, what's that? Yeah i don't use it either.

        Nothing quite compares to sitting at a table of people and having them all be unsociable by constantly checking their social media accounts.

    Don't see the big deal with letting some random at facebook see it, you were happy enough to let the person you suspect of distributing it see and/or take it weren't you? That employee probably has the worst job at facebook to be honest, because guess what, chances are nobody wants to see you naked or cares about one in 7 billion generic human bodies.

      Don't see the big deal with letting some random at facebook see it, you were happy enough to let the person you suspect of distributing it see and/or take it weren't you?

      Dont see the big deal with some random hacker having your credit card details. You were happy enough to let a shop have them

      What you did right there is victim blame. People share those photos with their partner because they believe the partner wont share them. They are not at fault because the partner is a d'head and shared personal photos obviously not for sharing.

        strangely enough - we agree on somethings.

        well said.

        Now you're conflating a facebook employee with a criminal. For doing their job. That's stupid and you should feel bad. If one stranger I'll never meet requests to see a picture of me for their eyes only that I know will be secure etc as facebook is doing, of course I wouldn't mind. It's not a punishment and certainly doesn't affect you in any way to do so.

      you know what, I'm happy with my wife grabbing a handful, not so happy with random dude in elevator grabbing a handful.

      While you're at it, would you like to upload a photo for all of us to see? After all, if you've sent it to one person, then we are all entitled judging by your comment

    Can't decide if that's a fun job or not...

      The first thought is “yeah, awesome, hot chicks/dudes/whatever you’re into” and then it’s a case of “oh yeah, people I find quite the opposite of attractive, also get naked...”

      Gotta think these things through!

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now