Facebook is Asking For Your Nude Photos. Here’s Why.

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Some of us probably had those shaky relationships where everything goes so wrong you’d wish it never happened in the first place. And then there’s a subset of them that has experienced a type of online abuse known as “revenge porn.” Basically, revenge porn is when someone uploads nude images of you, either just posing naked or engaged in sexual activity with another person, to completely shame you in public, or threaten to do so.

Currently, there has been a lot of cases of revenge porn, especially when today’s generation is more sexually liberal than the last one. In the US alone, it has been reported by the Data And Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research that 4% of their Internet users have been subjected to such threats or abuse before. BBC discovered in 2016 that victims of such harassment are as young as 11 years old.

And so Facebook has devised a plan that will enable them to send you your nude pics if someone has uploaded them over the Internet, as part of an effort to combat revenge porn. The catch? Facebook is asking for your nude pictures.

Send Nudes

Mark Zuckerberg (Image Source: The Information)

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO (Image Source: The Information)

The plan was to gather and archive digital copies of nude images of you and use an image-matching technology to stop people from uploading said pictures or other explicit media of you without your consent. The Verge reports that this new feature is being tested by Facebook in partnership with the e-Safety Commission of the Australian Government to combat these type of abuse that’s targeting minors. The Times of London also reported that this new technology will also be tested in other western countries, such as the US, Great Britain, and Canada.

The trick is that with your nude photos, Facebook will be able to create a “digital footprint” that will let them allow to use artificial intelligence and image recognition algorithms to process any photo uploaded and shared on Facebook to see if it matches and photos of you.

Back in April, The Verge also reported that Facebook was trying out a similar system, but this one uses images that were already reported and has been taken down while banning accounts that are caught uploading or sharing them.

According to the reports, e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said in an interview that they’ve seen a lot of cases where the nude images were taken with consent but did not consent on having those images spread.

“They’re not storing the image. They’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” she explained. She added that if someone tries to upload the same image it will be flagged and not uploaded.

The Downside

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Of course, no technology is perfect and that goes the same for those used by Facebook. They’ve admitted that the system isn’t perfect and that only the original file can be surely stopped. Copies of the image are much more difficult.

But Facebook said that this technology can be trusted and a spokesperson added that this technology was developed with the help of safety experts around the world.


Should Facebook be successful this might spell the end of such types of harassment women and minors. Incidents, such as when Facebook took out the page of a private group of 30,000 US Marines that share nude images of servicewomen, would be reduced or even completely stopped.

But the imperfection of the system seems unsolvable unless the image is actually saved in Facebook’s database for comparison. The hash value can only be the same if the two files that were uploaded are the same. So if you uploaded a cropped image of the person your harassing it will have a different hash. One way of solving this is to store all possible hashes that can be obtained from an image but only Facebook knows if it has the capability and the resources to store and analyze all that hashes while making sure that the site’s performance is going to stay the same.