Are Facebook Revenge Porn Combat Efforts Another Scandal Waiting To Happen?

Facebook user

Facebook, the most popular social network in the world has had its good and bad days. Just recently, the company faced the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This resulted to many users feeling skeptic of its ability to protect their data. Now Facebook is making efforts to further protect its users from revenge porn. It began its efforts in Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.

How It Happens

Facebook has “specially-trained representatives” to handle the nude photos.submitted by users. Facebook will then fingerprint those photos as a way of preventing them from being shared on its networks.

If you have a couple of intimate images that you wouldn’t like to see the light of day then contact Facebook for form submission. You will then receive an email bearing a one-time upload link. You can then upload all those images that you feel could be shared. The images will then be reviewed and unique fingerprints will be created to enable identification of future uploads. No copies will be stored on Facebook’s servers because the images are deleted within seven days of submission. Attempts by any persons to upload similar images on Facebook, Instagram or messenger will be thwarted by being blocked.

The good thing is that after the initial reviews of the images Facebook employees will no longer have access to the images because the only thing that will remain after the fingerprint or hash is created, is this numerical fingerprint that is unreadable.

The Concerns

People have raised concerns about the process being exploitative in itself. The potential victims have to go over their intimate photos and choose the ones that could be used against them. It could be a form of mental torture especially if the victim’s photos were taken against their will. As much as the whole process is intended to prevent exploitation, it is still a form of exploitation since it is very invasive.

Also, the recent data breach scandal doesn’t inspire confidence that the company will indeed prevent a case of infiltration. The idea of large-scale database of publicly submitted nude photos being breached makes anyone think twice. Many users are likely not to submit the photos and prefer to hope that no one posts nudes of them on the social networks.

Despite Facebook's efforts to combat revenge porn, there is one big problem where users have no control over the photos and don't even have the photos in their possession. If the photos and videos were actually taken without their consent and the abuser kept all the copies, then, in that case, the victim will only hope that such content doesn't get shared. Facebook’s hands, in this case, are tied.

However, there is still hope because facebook assures its users that the program is just one of the larger initiatives that will be put in place to combat revenge porn.