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Send us your naked photos to help block revenge porn, Facebook invites users

Published: June 3, 2018
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Source: CBC

Facebook wants its users to send them their naked photos.

The social network is rolling out the measure to crack down on revenge porn, the non-consensual sharing of explicit images.

The catch is you need to share those photos with the company first.

Praised by some as a long overdue step to protect potential victims from this digital form of gender-based violence, the initiative comes as trust in the social network is particularly low, following a media firestorm about its covert behaviour and government hearings in the U.S. and Europe about the company's handling of its users' personal data.

According to Facebook's announcement, a hashing system, piloted in Australia, is being introduced in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom to block explicit photos from being shared.

The premise is that anyone who fears someone else might publicly post a sensitive or explicit image of them that they do not want shared, can pre-emptively upload that photo as a means of preventing others from doing so.

Using a form obtained through a partnering organization — in Canada, Facebook has partnered with YWCA — users can request a secure, one-time link with which to upload the image.

The image is then reviewed and a unique hash is generated for it. Like encryption, hashing turns data into a string of numbers so that the original content is unidentifiable. That blocks all future uploads of the same image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

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