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Not Without My Consent: The New AI Technology is Fighting Revenge Porn

If you are Pakistani and a 90s kid, you’d remember the horrible Lucas era. Women were threatened and degraded while men enjoyed being on that dirty list. It was one of the scariest times and every girl feared being a victim of that cruel cyber-bullying accounts even though it meant nothing!

When I was in middle school, a trend erupted by the name of Lucases. People were going around making anonymous Facebook profiles to shame students. Each school had it’s own and the admin was kept a secret. The pressure every girl was living under was ridiculous.

Recently, Facebook has announced that a new artificial intelligence-powered tool will be introduced that will help the social network detect revenge porn. And those lewd Lucas pages were nothing short of that.

The non-consensually shared intimate images can have a devastating impact on the victim’s well-being. To save people from this, the technology being introduced will leverage AI and machine learning techniques to detect near-nude images or videos that are shared across Facebook and Instagram without any permission.

This announcement is a follow up of a previously introduced feature called photo-matching technique that prevents people from resharing a picture that has been taken down earlier. If the person tries to do so they receive a pop-up saying that the photo violates Facebook’s policies and it doesn’t allow the person to share that particular image on Facebook, Messenger or Instagram. The program is run in partnership with victim advocate organizations which creates a digital fingerprint of that image so Facebook could stop it from sharing across any of its platforms.

However, the new AI technology wouldn’t require the victim’s participation. This is done because sometimes victim’s are too scared to report the content themselves. And other times they are unaware of the activity.

How does it work?

Well, according to Facebook, it goes beyond simply detecting nudity. Once the picture is flagged, a specially trained member of Facebook’s Community Standards views the image and removes it. It will even disable the person’s account as a result. Though you can appeal if you think Facebook has made a mistake.

Thankfully something is being done about it as revenge porn can lead to mental health consequences like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and sometimes even PTSD. Other damages also include exclusion from the community, lost jobs, and damaged relationships. In more traditional communities such as ours, girls, especially, are exiled, physically harmed and even killed in the name of honor.

Not Without My Consent

This is another initiative by Facebook which is a victim-support hub available in the Facebook Safety Center, developed in partnership with experts. It is a place where you can access organizations and resources that can support you.

In the coming months, it will build victim support toolkits tailored to your local and cultural needs. It will have relevant info by working with partners including the Revenge Porn Helpline (U.K.), Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (U.S.), Digital Rights Foundation (Pakistan), SaferNet (Brazil) and Professor Lee Ji-yeon (South Korea).

It is never too late for something like this. People have been exploiting these public platforms for years now. I can’t even imagine how many girls could have been saved from the public humiliation that they suffered at the hands of the vile Lucas trend but I’m glad there is something being done about it now.

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