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

Abbotsford council votes to increase their event expense limits

Increase needed in case annual conferences require significant travel, staff say

Plans redrawn for Fraser Valley Inn redevelopment

Owner of building scales back plans on inn site, adds proposal to build second low-rise

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Solitary confinement gets overhaul at Abbotsford prison

‘It’s more social,’ Matsqui Institution’s citizens advisory committee chair says

UPDATED: 98-year-old cyclist in critical condition after struck by car

83-year-old driver stayed on scene and did not suffer any injuries in the incident

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read