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

Ellis Bird Farm opens 2019 with book unveil of Charlie, Winnie and the Bluebirds

Site Manager Myrna Pearman documented the history of central Alberta’s natural treasure

Ponoka RCMP respond to intoxicated male in Golden Leisure Lodge

On May 15, 2019 the Ponoka RCMP responded to a complaint of… Continue reading

Town to sign five-year policing agreement with Ponoka Stampede

The Town of Ponoka will go ahead with a five-year renewable agreement… Continue reading

UPDATED: Ponoka RCMP arrest male on Canada wide warrant

UPDATE for Immediate Release: Collin James Courteoreille was wanted on a Canada… Continue reading

Town passes 2019 budgets and tax bylaw with 2.2 per cent increase

Ponoka town council passed a $25.5 million 2019 capital and operating budget… Continue reading

Trudeau touts economic record at Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver

The Prime Minister was in B.C. for much of this week

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Red Deer man arrested in connection with Leduc armed robbery

Leduc RCMP asking for public assistance after armed robbery – UPDATE

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

Alberta Health Services said there were no life-threatening injuries

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear Alberta murder appeals

Sheena Cuthill and her husband Timothy Rempel were found guilty three years ago of killing Ryan Lane

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Mayor says northern Alberta town still under threat from nearby wildfire

The blaze has now eaten its way through about 920 square kilometres of forest

Most Read