Hoping to keep nude photos of yourself off of social media? Upload them to Facebook. While it might seem counterproductive, that's what the social media site is instructing users to do in Australia, where it's testing new "photo-matching technologies." The idea is that once Facebook has access to a photo, it can prevent it from being shared on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. This is done by converting the photo into what the Guardian calls "a unique digital fingerprint that can be used to identify and block any attempts to re-upload that same image." In theory, this allows users to protect themselves against revenge porn before it happens. Facebook says the same process occurs once an intimate photo is reported and removed from Facebook.
In the pilot program—coming soon to the US, UK, and Canada, per the Telegraph—users send photos to their own Messenger account after completing a form on the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner's website. The office then notifies Facebook, which instructs a community operations analyst to convert or "hash" the image, which will afterward be deleted. "They're not storing the image, they're storing the link," e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant tells ABC Australia. "If somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded." One downside: Users must possess the original file, per the Verge, which adds it's not yet clear how effective Facebook's system will be. (Read more Facebook stories.)