Australia is the latest country to partner with Facebook to prevent revenge porn

Australia has become the latest country to partner with the social network to tackle image-based abuse.
Image: studioeast/Getty Images

Revenge porn is becoming a top priority for Facebook’s safety team.

After announcing a new set of reporting tools in April, Facebook is continuing to roll out a pilot program to help prevent image-based abuse and revenge porn being shared across its platforms.

Testing in the U.S., UK, Canada, and just announced, Australia, the pilot is an extension of the company’s previously announced set of tools for users on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram to prevent their most intimate images from being shared without their permission. 

Users can log concerns about images being shared online, which could potentially prevent the images from being shared across Facebook’s platforms. The system won’t immediately block flagged images, but after they’re reviewed by Facebook’s Community Operations team, the platform will use photo-matching tech to prevent additional uploads. 

It’s an industry first, according to Facebook’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis. Twitter also recently updated its policy on revenge porn and non-consensual nudity “to better protect victims.”

“The safety and well-being of the Facebook community is our top priority,” Davis said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“As part of our continued efforts to better detect and remove content that violates our community standards, we’re using image matching technology to prevent non-consensual intimate images from being shared on Facebook.”

“These tools, developed in partnership with global safety experts, are one example of how we’re using new technology to keep people safe and prevent harm.”

Australia is the latest pilot country. Facebook is working alongside the country’s government-run Office of the eSafety Commissioner to launch the program. In Australia, any images logged in the country’s recently announced national screening portal will be reported to the eSafety Office, who will then notify Facebook to prevent the image being uploaded — the Australian government has pledged A$4.8 million (US$3.84 million) dedicated to the national reporting portal’s development, as part of a A$10 million (US$8 million) plan to tackle image-based abuse. 

“This pilot has the potential to disable the control and power perpetrators hold over victims.”

Australia’s eSafety Office has joined a global working group established by Facebook to engage governments and businesses in online safety. 

“We’ve been participating in the global working group to identify new solutions to keep people safe, and we’re proud to partner with Facebook on this important initiative as it aims to empower Australians to stop image-based abuse in its tracks,” said Julie Inman Grant, eSafety commissioner, in a statement.

“This pilot has the potential to disable the control and power perpetrators hold over victims, particularly in cases of ex-partner retribution and sextortion, and the subsequent harm that could come to them,” said Grant.

Revenge porn is slowly being criminalised across countries like Australia and the U.S., and while portals for reporting are a huge step forward, the onus should still be on perpetrators uploading this content in the first place. Stop it, creeps.

Additional reporting by Brett Williams and Johnny Lieu.

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Tags: big-tech-companies cybersecurity facebook facebook-safety-check revenge-porn tech

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