13:17, April 06 339 0 abajournal.com

2017-04-06 13:17:05
While fighting lawsuit, Facebook introduces new tools to identify ‘revenge porn’

Social media giant Facebook will use technology to automatically stop users from uploading images known to be “revenge porn,” the Washington Post and CNN reported Wednesday.

“Revenge porn” images are nude or sexual photos posted online without the consent of those pictured. The images are often posted in order to shame or extort the person. Victims are often women who made the images consensually while in a relationship, but then ended the relationship; the poster is often the ex. Sometimes, the person who posts the images adds the victim’s contact information and invites readers to harass her. The ABA Journal discussed the subject in more depth in 2013.

The announcement comes as Facebook fights a lawsuit filed in Northern Ireland by a 14-year-old who says the company should have taken steps to stop a man who repeatedly posted a nude image of her without her consent. The girl argued that Facebook should have taken steps to identify and track the image so it couldn’t be posted multiple times.

That’s pat of what Facebook is planning to do, according to a Wednesday blog post from the company’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis. Facebook already forbids users to post revenge porn (and deletes the accounts of people caught doing it); any such photos can be flagged by users for review by a human being. Under the new program, photos deemed revenge porn will be not only deleted but fed to software that automatically identifies any matching photos. If it finds one, Davis wrote, the upload will fail automatically and Facebook will tell the user that the photo violates policies.

Facebook also offers support and resources to victims of revenge porn, Davis wrote.

Although federal law is typically applied to activities on the internet, there’s no federal law making it a crime to post explicit images of adults without those adults’ permission. (Images of minors are considered child pornography and therefore illegal.) CNN says Washington, D.C. and 35 states have passed some laws, but they can be hard to enforce. Some victims have resorted to copyrighting their images and threatening lawsuits in order to get the images taken down.

The girl from Northern Ireland, whose name is being withheld because of her age, sued Facebook for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act. A judge in Belfast ruled last September that the case could go to a full trial.