No, this isn’t an Onion article.  Facebook has a new pilot program aimed at protecting users from having their nude bodies plastered all over Facebook . . . by requiring that you upload a photo of your nude body to Facebook.

They will then “hash” your nakedness (turn it into a unique code); once this is done, your hashed image (now code, not a pic of you in all your glory) will then be flagged and refused upload permissions on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.

Facebook’s “intimate safety” pilot is currently only available in Australia.

Facebook writes:

We don’t want Facebook to be a place where people fear their intimate images will be shared without their consent. We’re constantly working to prevent this kind of abuse and keep this content out of our community. We recently announced a test that’s a little different from things we’ve tried in the past. Even though this is a small pilot, we want to be clear about how it works.

  • Australians can complete an online form on the eSafety Commissioner’s official website.
  • To establish which image is of concern, people will be asked to send the image to themselves on Messenger.
  • The eSafety Commissioner’s office notifies us of the submission (via their form). However, they do not have access to the actual image.
  • Once we receive this notification, a specially trained representative from our Community Operations team reviews and hashes the image, which creates a human-unreadable, numerical fingerprint of it.
  • We store the photo hash—not the photo—to prevent someone from uploading the photo in the future. If someone tries to upload the image to our platform, like all photos on Facebook, it is run through a database of these hashes and if it matches we do not allow it to be posted or shared.
  • Once we hash the photo, we notify the person who submitted the report via the secure email they provided to the eSafety Commissioner’s office and ask them to delete the photo from the Messenger thread on their device. Once they delete the image from the thread, we will delete the image from our servers.

According to CNET, the motivation here is to limit the distribution of revenge porn (exes maliciously uploading nude photos or videos).

Facebook is asking people to share their nude photos. But this isn’t what it sounds like.

The goal of the social network’s plan is make sure people’s nude photos aren’t used for revenge porn by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Facebook already has a reporting system in place for when someone’s intimate photos are shared without consent, but the idea with this program is to nix the photos before they’re disseminated in the first place.

The way it’ll work is people will share their photos with Facebook via its Messenger app and the company will then “hash” the images, which is a process that converts the photos into a unique digital code. Once Facebook has that code, it can block the images from ever being uploaded to its site.

The company is piloting the technology in Australia with a small government agency headed by e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

“We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” Inman Grant told the ABC.

Watch the report:

I’m no techie, so it’s not clear to me how uploading one nude photo prevents any but that one image from being uploaded without consent.  The description doesn’t sound like it has some sort of feature recognition software that can recognize one set of lady (or gent) parts from another.

The obvious solution to such concerns is trust no one, ever, with nude images of yourself.  Who ever thought that was a good idea in the first place?  Given that just about every device these days has at least a camera and most have video recording capabilities, such images can conceivably be taken without someone’s consent or knowledge.

I often thank my lucky stars that I was born before eveyone’s every move was subject to being overtly and / or covertly recorded, photographed, videoed, and immediately uploaded for the world to see.

Granted, I’m more worried these days about someone capturing for posterity my sneaking that second serving of crème brûlée than anything else, but it’s hard to see how this Facebook pilot will do much of anything to curb the posting of revenge porn and may even increase the likelihood of your nude photos being posted all over the internet.  Hackers the world over must already be working to access Facebook’s nudie collection.


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