Facebook has taken an interest in combating revenge porn, so they’re testing a new system that’s being developed to deal with it.
If you don’t know what revenge porn is, then you, like myself, don’t use Facebook much, if at all. Revenge porn is sharing nude photos of someone to get back at them, usually an ex that just broke up. As far as crimes go, it’s pretty stupid and short-sighted. After all, the list of suspects is usually pretty short. I can just imagine what the investigators would say:
The only person that had access to these images other than the client would be her boyfriend, who just broke up with her, and her chat logs show a conversation with him in which she shared the nudes. We’ve established a means and a motive. Any thoughts?
Give us time. We’re still examining the evidence.
How does Facebook intend to combat revenge porn? By implementing a system that recognizes hash values and blocks any that are duplicates of those already in the system. How do you get it to work? By submitting nudes of yourself before anyone else gets a chance.
What can possibly go wrong?
For one thing, that a small portion of Facebook’s staff will get to see the submission. Facebook guarantees us that this team would only see the images briefly before deleting them, and this involves taking their word for it that some of them won’t go maverick and decide to keep a few of their favorites for themselves.
So, how about it? Would you trust Facebook’s carefully-selected team of left-wing low-T beta males to take just a brief gander at your vertical smile or yogurt cannon?
The next and far more obvious problem is that this system is going to be hacked. It’s begging for it. The NSA may already have access to your nudes, but they’re government workers, and government workers get paid well whether they make something functional or not. Hackers on 4chan will happily hack into anything that anyone dares them to, whether anyone pays them for it or not, for no other reason than because they can, or because they think it’s funny. While decent paychecks are a motivator to get into your stuff, that pales in comparison to weaponized autism. Facebook’s system is going to be hacked, and it doesn’t help them that they have the equivalent of a huge neon sign advertising an enormous stash of nudie pics.
The next problem is that Facebook’s proposed hash recognition system will be far too easy to get around. Image boards such as 4chan already use a similar system to ensure that duplicate images aren’t posted, which goes a long way in ensuring that the O RLY owl doesn’t wind up in every single thread. But the owl still comes up, because altering an image’s hash value is simple: Just open the image in Paint, then change one pixel in a spot where it won’t likely be noticed. Done. Facebook’s nudie patrol will know what your breasts look like, and you’ll have done nothing to stop anybody by sharing them.
What’s more, it’s been suggested that this system be used to combat child porn. Give that a moment to sink in. Facebook is a private company, so wouldn’t they get in trouble for possessing the stuff, especially after asking for it? And what of the people that submit it to the system? If they’re the first people to submit an image, wouldn’t the implication be that they produced it?
I feel bad for Facebook’s nudie patrol. People have already gone after airport security over scanners, and they’ve been accused of being in it to see naked people, including children. Now Facebook’s nudie patrol is going to have to put up with it, too. The cherry on top is that most people don’t look like they’d be very appealing while naked. Not only will the nudie patrol be made out to be pariahs by the press and have a hard time discussing their jobs to future interviewers, they’ll be scarred by countless images from fat people and women who don’t shave down there. Yuck. Looking at naked people all day would not be a dream job.
Anyhow, I expect this system to roll out shortly in spite of what can go wrong, as well as the predictable sensationalist news stories from a corporate information media that mostly pitches to morons. Then, further down the road, there’d be the hilarious stories about the system getting hacked.