- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled new tools intended to stop so-called “revenge porn” from spreading online by giving users a new way to report intimate images of themselves not meant for public consumption.

Users of the word’s largest social networking site can flag private photographs uploaded without their consent with little more than a single click, Facebook said in a statement Wednesday.

Along with giving users a new way to easily report intimate images uploaded without their consent, Facebook said it’s also deployed new “photo-matching” technology Wednesday designed to keep revenge porn from proliferating across Facebook’s other services, including its Messenger and Instagram apps.

“We are constantly looking to build and improve the tools that we offer and it became very apparent to us that this was a problem occurring across many regions that created unique harm,” Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, told the BBC.

Effective immediately, Facebook said users can flag images of themselves as inappropriate by alleging they contain intimate content shared without their permission.

“Specially trained representatives from our Community Operations team review the image and remove it if it violates our Community Standards,” Ms. Davisexplained in a blog post Wednesday.

“We then use photo-matching technologies to help thwart further attempts to share the image on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram,” she added. “If someone tries to share the image after it’s been reported and removed, we will alert them that it violates our policies and that we have stopped their attempt to share it.”

Social media users caught sharing intimate images without permission may have their accounts disabled pending appeal as part of the company’s “ongoing effort to help build a safe community on and off Facebook,” Ms. Davis added.

Facebook’s deployment Wednesday of new tools was quickly hailed by Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who has been at the forefront of fighting against the proliferation of revenge porn.

“These new tools are a huge advancement in combatting non-consensual pornography and I applaud Facebook for their dedication in addressing this insidious issue, which impacts the lives of individuals and their loved ones across the country and around the world,” she said in a statement.

About one in 25 people say they’ve either had intimate images uploaded online without their consent or encountered individuals who threatened to do as such, according to a 2016 study conducted by the Data & Society Research Institute. Over nine out of 10 revenge-porn victims report suffering from significant emotional distress as a result, Facebook said Wednesday.

In Michigan, meanwhile, a Macomb County judge on Monday ordered a 22-year-old man to pay $600,000 to his ex-girlfriend after he was guilty of uploading a video to Facebook of them of them having sex, The Macomb Daily reported.

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