Australia is one of four countries joining forces with Facebook in a limited global pilot program to improve online protection.
The pilot program aims to prevent intimate images of Australians being posted and shared across social media sites Facebook, Messenger, Facebook Groups and Instagram. The other countries participating are the US, UK and Canada.
The program gives people who are concerned that an intimate image may be shared online a way to report it to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, the only Australian Government agency taking part in the pilot. Users will be asked to send the image to themselves on Messenger while the eSafety Commissioner's office notifies Facebook of their submission.
Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner, said the Office has been participating in a Global Working Group to identify new solutions to keep people safe. The partnership with Facebook emerged from this group.
“This pilot has the potential to disable the control and power perpetrators hold over victims, particularly in cases of ex-partner retribution and sextortion, and the subsequent harm that could come to them,” says Inman Grant.
Facebook announced in April that it had developed cutting-edge technology to prevent the re-sharing of images on its platforms. The “non-consensual intimate images tool” converts an image into a unique digital fingerprint, in a process called “hashing”. The “hash” can then be used to identify and block any attempts to re-upload that same image.
Since the pilot was launched at the beginning of this month, Facebook has called on Australians who share intimate images to submit them to the company for “hashing”. This will enable Facebook to prevent the images being shared without consent in the future.
Facebook’s Head of Global Safety, Antigone Davis, said the pilot is an industry first.
Anyone concerned that an intimate image may be shared online can complete an online form on the eSafety Commissioner's official website detailing their concerns.
For more information please visit www.esafety.gov.au/image-based-abuse.