Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Workers, Not an Algorithm, Will Look at Volunteered Nude Photos First in an Effort to Stop Revenge Porn

Joseph Cox, the Daily Beast:

This week, multiple outlets reported on a Facebook pilot scheme that aims to combat revenge porn. In the program, users would send a message to themselves containing their nude images, which Facebook will then make a fingerprint of, and stop others from uploading similar or identical pictures.

The approach has many similarities with how Silicon Valley companies tackle child abuse material, but with a key difference—there is no already-established database of non-consensual pornography.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, Facebook workers will have to review full, uncensored versions of nude images first, volunteered by the user, to determine if malicious posts by other users qualify as revenge porn.

In a bizarre way, this actually makes some sense: Facebook already bans pornography, but there’s no algorithmic way to determine if a photo was shared non-consensually, so a user must manually state that certain images were shared without their consent. The distinction is important because someone sharing consensual porn is merely violating Facebook’s terms of use, while someone sharing non-consensual images is violating a person’s privacy and, potentially, the law.

Now, you could make a reasonable argument that Facebook should err on the side of assuming that all images that are similar to pornographic images should be hidden from public view when they’re reported as revenge porn. I would make that argument, too. But it seems like Facebook has abdicated the responsibility of monitoring their platform for these abuses for a long time, and they’re having a hard time catching up.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether users can trust Facebook, and a recent survey conducted by Reticle Research and the Verge indicates that Americans simply don’t. Oh, and one more thing:

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

That transcript from over ten years ago will never fail to bite Mark Zuckerberg in the ass.