Expert Commends Facebook For Taking On Revenge Porn, Says Plan Needs Tweaking

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Facebook is testing a new program to combat revenge porn.

It involves Facebook users sending naked or intimate photos of themselves, which has raised some eyebrows.

Perhaps you have an ex-boyfriend or former spouse who has nude photos of you that you’d never want posted online. Under the pilot program being tested in Australia, Facebook wants users to send in those photos.

Like many who first hear the idea, Lorrie Cranor thought: “My first reaction was, ‘What? What are they doing?’ But then I read more about it.”

Cranor is a professor in the School of Computer Science and the Engineering and Public Policy Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Cranor. “I think it’s well-intentioned. I’m concerned about some of the details.”

Technically, Facebook would ask users to send a copy of the photo to themselves on Facebook Messenger. Facebook wouldn’t store the image itself, but instead, create a digital footprint of it known as a “hash.”

“They use a computer program that analyzes the photo and makes this numerical representation,” said Cranor.

Then, Facebook could block anyone from posting a photo with the same hash.

As for the actual photo, Cranor says: “It should only be there briefly, but my concern is that it’s there at all.”

She says there is an alternative with less risk.

“A better way to do that would be to give you a special app that would create that hash on your own phone, so you never have to send that photo to Facebook,” said Cranor.

She says Facebook’s plan may need some tweeking, but she commends them for trying to stop revenge porn.

“It can destroy somebody’s life, and it’s terrible,” said Cranor. “So it’s great to see Facebook being proactive about trying to do something about it.”

Facebook was part of a scandal in March when U.S. Military members shared nude photos of fellow service members in Facebook groups without their permission.

The new program debuts in Australia, but reportedly, it will be tested next in Britain, Canada and in the United States.

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