One of the problems that Facebook has faced in the past is the spread of pictures within their various platforms. The way that Facebook sharing and the internet in general work can make it challenging to stop the spread of an image once it is out there. This can be frustrating and unpleasant for people who have their pictures being distributed without permission. Facebook has recently been working on tools that can help prevent the spread of these different images and especially of what is often called “revenge porn.”
Initially Facebook had been controlling the spread of these images simply by having users report them and then removing them as they appeared. The main problem with this was that the images would still continue to spread as people would see them and share them or save them before the image could be reported. For this reason, Facebook has extended the tools it uses. They will now be using image matching software to find images that have been previously reported and removed. When someone tries to post this image or send it to another user, they will automatically receive an alert saying that the content violates Facebook policy.
Some people have voiced concern about how this software will work. Many are worried about the way that the images will be stored so that Facebook can use them with photo matching software. Facebook says that the images will be kept for a certain period of time, but then they will be reduced to data that is essentially the image’s virtual fingerprint. Photos cannot be reconstructed from this information, allowing for greater privacy. Images that are stored temporarily will have parts blurred out to further protect privacy.
It is likely that a recent case involving a young girl in which Facebook was found to have fault for failing to prevent the spread of these images has contributed to Facebook’s desire to control these different types of images better. While pictures will still have to be reported initially, Facebook will be able to use software to prevent the images from appearing again within their various platforms.