Preventing revenge porn by sending your nude photos to someone else is probably not the way most of us would handle the issue, right? Well, Meta has come up with a “brilliant” idea to prevent your nude content from spreading across Facebook and Instagram. The company has launched a tool that lets you submit your explicit photos to a hashing database so that they can be recognized and removed from the platforms in the future. Needless to say, this has raised some concerns in the community.
The Revenge Porn Helpline (RPH), Meta, and more than 50 non-governmental organization partners have launched StopNCII.org (standing for “Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Images”). If you suspect someone might share your intimate photos, or they threaten to do it, you can submit your case through the website. This will require you to submit photos or videos that show you nude or semi-nude, engaged in a sexual act, and so on. Naturally, the public hasn’t accepted this very well, considering that Meta is involved. We all know that it’s not exactly a synonym for privacy protection.
Still, the company claims that you have nothing to worry about. Once you submit your case, you’ll be asked to select the circumstances under which the content was filmed or photographed. Then you’ll get to upload it – but it will never leave your computer. It will only be used to generate a “digital fingerprint” that assigns a unique hash value to your image or video. Then, all the tech companies involved in StopNCII.org will receive the hash and they can use it to detect if someone has shared or is trying to share your private content on their platforms.
“Only hashes, not the images themselves, are shared with StopNCII.org and participating tech platforms,” Meta writes in a blog post. “This feature prevents further circulation of that NCII content and keeps those images securely in the possession of the owner.”
If this sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it is. Facebook introduced something similar back in 2017, causing quite a stir. Back then, you were supposed to contact the e-Safety Commissioner. Then, you’d need to send the photos to yourself via Messenger. From there on, similar technology would be used: Facebook would “hash” your photos to create a digital fingerprint or link. Facebook claimed even then that it didn’t store your images, only their digital fingerprint.
It appears that StopNCII.org uses the same technology, only your images and videos don’t go through Messenger. It’s generally a good idea and revenge porn is definitely something we need to combat. Still, anything that has Meta’s fingers in it doesn’t really earn my trust, so I’m still a bit skeptical about this. I guess only time will tell if it’s a good idea or not.
[via Daily Mail]