We’ve even gone so far as to accuse Facebook of listening to our conversations through our microphones. So when Facebook asked us to have faith in the company’s latest controversial idea, the “hell no”s rang out loud and clear.
In an attempt to tackle revenge porn, the tech giant asked users to upload their naked photos. As the logic goes, users who worry they may become a victim of revenge porn can use Messenger to send their nudes to Facebook’s head honchos. Then, the company can begin building a database of these forbidden photos. If someone else attempts to upload one of the forbidden pics to the site, the database will immediately recognize it, and zap it out of cyberspace.
To its credit, revenge porn is a major issue that requires Facebook’s attention. According to documents leaked earlier this year, around 54,000 cases of revenge porn are reported to Facebook every month. At this point, 1 in 25 Americans have become victims of revenge porn, and outside of copyrighting our genitals, we’re fresh out of ideas about how to fix the problem.
However, the “send Zuckerberg your nudes” solution is definitely coming up short. For example, consider how effective this strategy would be when handling non-consensually snapped pictures.
Remember, Facebook’s tool would only work if the victim has the same pictures as the perpetrator. If the victim was photographed while sleeping, drugged or otherwise incapacitated, they’d be shit out of luck. What’s more, if a photo is cropped, edited or Photoshopped, it could easily avoid detection and never be taken down.
Beyond that, there’s also the glaring issue that Facebook has a reputation for giving zero fucks about users’ privacy.
In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg famously argued that privacy was no longer a “social norm.” In 2011, the FTC sued Facebook for breaking its guarantees about the privacy of users’ data and fined the company $220 million. Sending nudes to a corporation known for privacy violations simply defies common sense.
The final nail in this idea’s coffin, however, is that Facebook has, for the first time, created a legitimate situation in which a trusted source would need you to send nudes. It’s only a matter of time, then, until hackers and internet con-artists create counterfeit emails that could trick people into sharing their naked photos with ill-intentioned creeps.
It’s ironic that this notoriously-invasive company is asking users to prevent their naked photos from ending up on Facebook by uploading them to Facebook themselves. After all, if we can’t trust our naked photos in the hands of our former partners, why would trust them with a total stranger?