Newstalk
Newstalk

17.09 9 Nov 2017


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Social media giant Facebook is trialling a new system urging users to 'send nudes.'

The company aims to tackle revenge porn by inviting users to send it compromising photos so they can be permanently blocked from the sites it operates.

The system will see the Facebook community operations team using image matching technology to block the images being uploaded or shared online.

The scheme is aimed at people who are worried partners or ex-partners may share the images without their consent - and is being trialled in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK.

Revenge porn

The company's head of global safety, Antigone Davis said the pilot is an "industry first;" adding that it builds upon the non-consensual intimate images tool the company announced in April.

“As part of our continued efforts to better detect and remove content that violates our community standards, we’re using image matching technology to prevent non-consensual intimate images from being shared on Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Groups and Messenger,” she said.

“These tools, developed in partnership with global safety experts, are one example of how we’re using new technology to keep people safe and prevent harm – one of five key areas of focus as we help to build a supportive, inclusive and safe global community.”

The company has said it will store the images for a short time before deleting them.

Blackmail

Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the initiative "aims to empower Australians to stop image-based abuse in its tracks.”

She said the plan, "has the potential to disable the control and power perpetrators hold over victims, particularly in cases of ex-partner retribution and sextortion, and the subsequent harm that could come to them."

Legislation

The Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has already announced plans to make it a criminal offence to post revenge porn online.

The new bill will make it illegal to post sexually explicit images online without consent of the person pictured – while also criminalising “upskirting;” the practice of taking photos or videos up a person's skirt without their knowledge.

The legislation will also make stalking – including cyber stalking – a criminal offence and extend the offence of harassment to ensure it includes online and social media activity.

The new harassment offence will include indirect communication with a victim and the setting up of fake social media accounts.

The offences could carry fines of up to €5,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment on summary conviction.


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