Facebook will begin rolling out new photo matching technology to help stop the spread of revenge porn, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Revenge porn is defined as the sharing of intimate images of others without their consent.

For example, it can happen when someone takes a photo or video of themselves and shares it with an intimate partner, who later shows the image to others, via any number of methods, including social media.

This new effort won’t stop the initial sharing of those images, but its goal is to stop the re-sharing of them once they’ve been identified as revenge porn.

Facebook Uses Image Recognition Technology

Here’s how Facebook is planning to address the issue, according to Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety:

  • If you see a photo on Facebook that looks like it was shared without permission, you can report it. To do that, you can use click on the downward arrow or “…”  and use the “report” link that shows up.
  • Members of Facebook’s community operations team will review the image and remove it if it violates their community standards. They also can shut down the account from which the photos were shared.
  • There is an appeals process if someone thinks the photo was taken down in error.

This is when the new technology comes into play. Facebook uses the technology to stop the photo from ever being shared again on any of its platforms: Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram.

Davis said in a press release:

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.
We also partner with safety organizations to offer resources and support to the victims of this behavior.

Revenge Porn Is Illegal in Many States

People gathered at a town hall during the 2016 presidential campaign to discuss revenge porn, among other topics. (Getty)

So far, 35 states plus Washington, D.C., have made revenge porn a crime, according to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI).

In fact, acknowledgement of the issue has grown to the point where it even became an issue in the 2016 Presidential election. The issue vaulted into public awareness after one half of the popular YouTube duo BriaAndChrissy, Chrissy Chambers, was victimized by an ex. She says one night when she was passed out drunk, her ex-boyfriend secretly taped himself having sex with her and then he allegedly released the video online.

A 2013 study by the CCRI showed that victims of revenge porn suffered significantly as a result. Some 93 percent reported emotional distress while 82 percent felt the ramifications in social, occupational and other areas of their lives.

According to a study cited by the American Psychological Association, a national sample of adults showed that after a breakup, 10 percent of ex-partners have threatened to post sexually explicit photos online, with about 60 percent of them following through and posting the pictures.

‘Revenge’ Porn Isn’t Limited To Revenge

According to the CCRI, people who share the images might not actually be seeking revenge and, in fact, might not have any personal feelings at all about the victim.

Instead, it is more about the nonconsensual spread of the images. It can include images taken without consent as well as images taken “within the context of an intimate relationship.”

According to the CCRI’s website. “A vengeful ex-partner or opportunistic hacker can upload an explicit image of a victim to a website where thousands of people can view it and hundreds of other websites can share it. In a matter of days, that image can dominate the first several pages of “hits” on the victim’s name in a search engine, as well as being emailed or otherwise exhibited to the victim’s family, employers, co-workers, and peers.”