by Graham Pierrepoint
Inarguably the Grand-Daddy of all social media – save for MySpace, of course – Facebook has evolved far beyond its initial remits across the years to bring a whole host of different interactive services and features to help family and friends share photos, life events and more. However, recent developments may not sit so easy with privacy campaigners – while the firm’s data-holding policies may be well-known, many people have actively avoided the platform as they are unsure whether to trust Mark Zuckerberg et al with their personal data. Get ready for a whole new strike to that tally – as a trial scheme looks set to request nude photos from users, even though it has their best interests at heart.
Facebook is currently trialling a scheme in Australia whereby users are encouraged to upload nude photos of themselves ▶ if they are worried about falling victim to a ‘revenge porn’ scheme. Revenge porn is a relatively new phenomenon which has caused concern globally – it is the act of an ex-partner, oftentimes, uploading nude photos of their exes without their consent – with the aim of publicly shaming them. Several cases of revenge porn have gone to court – and sensitive photos and data have been used multiple times in blackmail cases, too.
Facebook, therefore, is attempting to get in on the revenge porn backlash by allowing you to upload a nude photo to act as something of a ‘hash’ or a ‘fingerprint’ – so that your body and profile can effectively be recognized should anyone post obscene imagery of you anywhere on-site. Facebook already bans explicit and nude imagery outright – but there are hopes that this new system – or should that be nude system – will help to counteract revenge porn and photo shaming ahead of traditional reporting.
While the network’s intentions may be honorable, their techniques may not sit too comfortably with those who are already worried about Facebook holding too much information on them. Revenge porn is already banned in some countries, with the UK offering up to a two-year jail sentence if a perpetrator is found guilty. How many people – however – will feel truly comfortable in uploading their most personal photos to Facebook to act as a preventative measure? Who’s to say – but if you’re already careful about the information the big F holds on you, you may not wish to take part. It’s a pilot scheme for now – let’s see where it goes!