Posted Apr. 5, 2017 at 10:15 a.m.

New Facebook tools tackle 'revenge porn:' Here's how they work

Published: 2017-04-05 10:15:32
Updated: 2017-04-05 10:15:32


Facebook on Wednesday unveiled new tools it says will help combat "revenge porn," or the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, such as what happened in the recent Marine Corps recruit nude photo scandal.

Plus, below is an explanation of how the tools work and other information you can use to fight what has become a growing problem.

"According to a study of US victims of non-consensual intimate images, 93% report significant emotional distress and 82% report significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of their life," wrote Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety, in a blog post.


What is revenge porn?

What is revenge porn?The term “revenge porn,” though frequently used, is somewhat misleading. Many perpetrators are not motivated by revenge or by any personal feelings toward the victim. A more accurate term is nonconsensual pornography, defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. This includes both images originally obtained without consent (e.g. by using hidden cameras, hacking phones, or recording sexual assaults) as well as images consensually obtained within the context of an intimate relationship.

Nonconsensual pornography transforms unwilling individuals into sexual entertainment for strangers. A vengeful ex-partner or opportunistic hacker can upload an explicit image of a victim to a website where thousands of people can view it and hundreds of other websites can share it. In a matter of days, that image can dominate the first several pages of “hits” on the victim’s name in a search engine, as well as being emailed or otherwise exhibited to the victim’s family, employers, co-workers, and peers.

Source: Cyber Civil Rights


The new tools are designed "to help people when intimate images are shared on Facebook without their permission."

"When this content, often referred to as 'revenge porn,'is reported to us, we can now prevent it from being shared on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram," Davis said.

Facebook's explanation about how the tools work:

  • If you see an intimate image on Facebook that looks like it was shared without permission, you can report it by using the “Report” link that appears when you tap on the downward arrow or “…” next to a post.
  • Specially trained representatives from our Community Operations team review the image and remove it if it violates our Community Standards. In most cases, we will also disable the account for sharing intimate images without permission. We offer an appeals process if someone believes an image was taken down in error.
  • We then use photo-matching technologies to help thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. If someone tries to share the image after it’s been reported and removed, we will alert them that it violates our policies and that we have stopped their attempt to share it.
  • We also partner with safety organizations to offer resources and support to the victims of this behavior.

Facebook and other firms also worked with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative to set up a website for "revenge porn" victims to report what has happened.

See the notice and removal site at: https://www.cybercivilrights.org/online-removal/

Other companies involved in that project include Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.

Read more about the Facebook initiative at:

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/04/using-technology-to-protect-intimate-images-and-help-build-a-safe-community/

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