FILE - In this April 4, 2013 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook says it is launching new artificial intelligence technology to find intimate pictures that may have been uploaded without the consent of the photo’s subject. Facebook says it will be able to spot the photos and videos known as ‘revenge porn’ and send them to be reviewed. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook launches AI to find and remove ‘revenge porn’

The company’s new machine learning tool is designed to find and flag the pictures automatically

Facebook is rolling out technology to make it easier to find and remove intimate pictures and videos posted without the subject’s consent, often called “revenge porn.”

Currently, Facebook users or victims of revenge porn have to report the inappropriate pictures before content moderators will review them. The company has also suggested that users send their own intimate images to Facebook so that the service can identify any unauthorized uploads. Many users, however, balked at the notion of sharing revealing photos or videos with the social-media giant, particularly given its history of privacy failures.

The company’s new machine learning tool is designed to find and flag the pictures automatically, then send them to humans to review.

Facebook and other social media sites have struggled to monitor and contain the inappropriate posts that users upload, from violent threats to conspiracy theories to inappropriate photos.

Facebook has faced harsh criticism for allowing offensive posts to stay up too long, for not removing posts that don’t meet its standards and sometimes for removing images with artistic or historical value. Facebook has said it’s been working on expanding its moderation efforts, and the company hopes its new technology will help catch some inappropriate posts.

The technology, which will be used across Facebook and Instagram, was trained using pictures that Facebook has previously confirmed were revenge porn. It is trained to recognize a “nearly nude” photo — a lingerie shot, perhaps — coupled with derogatory or shaming text that would suggest someone uploaded the photo to embarrass or seek revenge on someone else.

At least 42 states have passed laws against revenge porn. Many such laws came up in the past several years as posting of non-consensual images and videos has proliferated. New York’s law, which passed in February, allows victims to file lawsuits against perpetrators and makes the crime a misdemeanour.

Facebook has been working to combat the spread of revenge porn on its site for years, but has largely relied on people proactively reporting the content up until now. But that means by the time it’s reported, someone else has already seen it, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview with The Associated Press. And it’s often tough and embarrassing for a victim to report a photo of themselves.

“This is about using technology to get ahead of the problem,” Sandberg said.

READ MORE: Facebook says outages due to ‘server configuration change’

READ MORE: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’ll double down on privacy

Facebook still sees user-contributed photos as one way to address the problem, and says it plans to expand that program to more countries. It allows people to send in photos they fear might be circulated through encrypted links. Facebook then creates a digital code of the image so it can tell if a copy is ever uploaded and deletes the original photo from its servers.

The company does not expect the new technology to catch every instance of revenge porn, and said it will still rely on users reporting photos and videos.

By Rachel Lerman, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bastion Street bridge closed for construction work

Span connecting downtown to Old City Quarter closed to vehicle traffic for six weeks

Governor General’s Award-winning author launches her new book

Wendy Phillips’s ‘Baggage’ is told in experimental ‘free verse’ style

Nanaimo city councillors to hold e-town hall meeting on strategic priorities

Meeting will take place May 23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Crews putting out one of the first wildfires of the season in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Wildfire Service called to Doumont Road fire

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Wellington Secondary drama program stages adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Production will feature two actresses in the role of Alice

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Say no to plastic straws

Straws make drinking frappuccinos easier, but they kill sea creatures, says letter writer

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Most Read