It has today been reported that Facebook is asking users to send them private sexual images and videos of themselves so that it can block the images if there is any attempt to upload them as revenge porn.

Alexandra Whiston-Dew is a private client lawyer at Mishcon de Reya. She manages the firm's engagement in the SPITE project - a pro bono partnership with Queen Mary University - where she advises victims of revenge porn.

 

Commenting on today's news, Alexandra said: "This is an interesting way to repurpose existing technology. When advising victims, it is sometimes practical, rather than legal, advice that can have immediate impact and really make a difference. This initiative, if it works, will really help.

 

"Publication on Facebook is often the most devastating platform for the victims – they have their friends, family, work colleagues all gathered in one place for maximum humiliation by publication. Also, because it is such a longstanding social media platform, users have built up a presence over several years so shutting down an account or even making it private can have a negative impact on victims.

 

"We would expect that Facebook has absolutely water tight systems to guard the privacy of the victims. It is quite counterintuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient and Facebook will need to be able to reassure people that they have the right measures in place to protect them."