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

RCMP make arrest following break-in at Parksville’s Log Cabin General Store

Police credit tips from public for helping with case

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Vandals wreak havoc on Parksville flower beds

‘Senseless’ act causes thousands of dollars in damage

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Most Read