Photo via Facebook

Facebook will use AI to prevent revenge porn from being re-shared.

The world’s biggest social network will soon begin doing more to battle a continued problem online: revenge porn.

“We’re focused on building a community that keeps people safe,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post yesterday. “Revenge porn is… wrong, it’s hurtful, and if you report it to us, we will now use AI and image recognition to prevent it from being shared across all of our platforms.

We typically define revenge porn as nonconsensual pornography. Facebook considers it any intimate photo that’s shared without permission (potato, potahto). Now, when these types of images are shared on the social network, the company will take action.

Facebook’s head of global safety Antigone Davis explained the process in a blog post: If you see an intimate image that seems like it may have been shared without permission, you can now report it. Then, a trained representative from the Community Operations team will review the image. If it’s found to violate Facebook’s Community Standards, the image will be removed and the poster’s account could even be disabled.

Next is where the AI part comes in. (Historically, this is where the biggest problem with revenge porn lies: that once posted, an image can be continually shared ad infinitum.) To battle that issue, Facebook will use artificial intelligence-based photo-matching techniques to prevent the image from resurfacing on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Facebook also plans to partner with safety organizations to help offer support and resources to victims. During product development of this new tool, Facebook consulted with groups such as the Center for Social Research, National Network to End Domestic Violence, the U.K.-based Revenge Porn Helpline, and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

In a comment on his post, Zuckerberg also said that sharing this tool “as a service for others to use is definitely something we’ll consider.”

The only problem with Facebook’s strategy is that it assumes that people will report suspected revenge porn when they see it. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case. However, if Facebook does end up open-sourcing its technology, other online companies and social networks can flag images identified as revenge porn. Perhaps then we can quash this problem once and for all.

H/T The New York Times

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.