May 23, 2018

Facebook revenge porn to be blocked from reposts

85Facebook is taking fresh action to prevent so-called revenge porn from being spread across its platforms.

The social network is making it impossible to repost or share intimate images of people thought to have been uploaded without their permission once they have been identified as such and removed.

The measure is being rolled out across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram but not WhatsApp.

Campaigners welcomed the development.

“It’s a huge step forward,” said Laura Higgins, founder of the UK’s Revenge Porn Helpline.

“Quite often these images are posted on social media as part of a domestic situation in which someone is trying to get at their target and their nearest and dearest.

“One of the greatest challenges is to stop people re-uploading the content.”

Facebook is not hunting out revenge porn imagery itself, but instead will rely on users flagging the content via its Report tool.

Its community operations team will then make a judgement as to whether the posts qualify, taking into account factors including whether sexual activity is depicted, the setting and whether the person making the complaint is shown.

If the image is judged to be revenge porn, it will be removed and the account that posted it blocked, pending a potential appeal.

Photo-recognition software is then deployed to ensure any further attempts to circulate the picture are blocked without human operators needing to review them.

The technique is similar to that already used by Facebook and others to prevent child abuse imagery being shared.

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