Saturday 29 April 2017

Facebook to crack down on revenge porn on Instagram, Messenger and Facebook

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Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook is to crack down on incidents of ‘revenge porn’ with new tools aimed at blocking intimate images shared without consent.

The technology will be applied to Instagram and Facebook Messenger as well as the main site. However, it will not apply to Whatsapp, which Facebook also owns.

The new tools will depend on users reporting images. “Specially trained teams”, some of which are based in Ireland, will review the images to see if they warrant removal.

“In many cases we will also disable the account for sharing intimate images without permission,” said Antigone Davis, head of global safety at Facebook.

Ms Davis also said that Facebook will offer an appeals process for people who believe their images were taken down in error.

“If someone tries to share the image after it's been reported and removed, we will alert them that it violates our policies and that we have stopped their attempt to share it.”

The move comes after several recent cases of revenge porn and sharing intimate images without consent.

Last month, a man from Skerries pleaded guilty in Balbriggan District Court to uploading a 10-minute video of himself and his girlfriend having sex. The 26-year-old man posted the video twice to an online pornography website.

Meanwhile, Hollywood actress Mischa Barton said that she has taken out a restraining order against two ex-boyfriends who she suspects of attempting to sell naked images of her, describing herself as being trapped in a "horrific situation".

Barton, star of the television show 'The OC', accused her former partners Jon Zacharias and Adam Shaw of trying to sell the "revenge porn" footage, with a starting price of $500,000 (€468,000).

"I have been put through an incredibly hard and trying time,” she said. “My absolute worst fear was realised when I learned that someone I thought I loved and trusted was filming my most intimate and private moments, without my consent, with hidden cameras.”

Facebook has now outlined steps that people should take if they believe they are the victim of revenge porn imagery. It advises people to document everything, including the taking of screenshots, even though this might be upsetting. The company also advises printing the images out or saving them to a secure storage drive.

“As we build a global community, this is a moment of truth,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder. “Our success isn't just based on whether we can capture videos and share them with friends. It's about whether we're building a community that helps keep us safe, that prevents harm, helps during crises, and rebuilds afterwards.”

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