Facebook explains why it wants intimate photos from Australian users

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Facebook has an unusual request for Australian users who think they may be victims of revenge porn. It wants them to send their intimate photos through its Messenger app — to themselves — as part of a new pilot program to crack down on the problem.

Revenge porn is the term for the spread of intimate, nude or sexual images that are distributed without a person’s consent — and it is an epidemic in Australia. One in five Australians between the ages of 16 and 49 are affected, according to a recent study.

Facebook’s head of global safety shared details about its new pilot program with the Australian eSafety Commissioner’s Office and other experts in a blog post on Thursday.

The pilot works in collaboration with eSafety’s new online reporting portal announced in October, a part of a $4.8 million effort to crack down on the problem.

Here’s how it works: If a user suspects that they’re the target of revenge porn, they alert the eSafety commission. Next, they can send the image or images to themselves on Facebook Messenger so that Facebook can register and block them from being posted.

Related: Australia takes on revenge porn

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