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Maltese Inspector Warns People Sending Nudes As Dares As He Lobbies Facebook To Block Revenge Porn

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Malta is rife with revenge porn, with entire WhatsApp channels dedicated to their distribution and footage often going viral nationwide overnight.

Now, the Malta Police Force’s cybercrime inspector has confirmed that talks are underway with Facebook and other social media providers to make use of AI technology to stop people sharing these photos.

“We’ve started discussions on how to stop certain photos from being shared once social media providers are made aware of them,” inspector Timothy Zammit said in an interview with Lovin Malta. “Facebook can impose certain controls once they’re made aware of a particular image that’s doing the rounds. They might disallow the user from uploading the photo in the first place or block the photo as soon as soon as it’s uploaded.”

Timothyzammit

“YouTube already uses these tools to stop people uploading videos with copyrighted music. If controls can be implemented to safeguard the financial gain of large corporations, why can’t they be implemented to safeguard victims of crime?”

Facebook recently introduced a pilot feature in the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada, asking users to send over intimate images they’re worried could be going viral. The photos are then reviewed by a team of reviewers, who will then assign the photo a unique digital fingerprint, a process known as hashing. If anyone tries to upload the photo onto any of Facebook’s platforms, the code will be automatically recognised and blocked.

Sexy Selfie

Revenge porn was criminalised in Malta a few years ago and the sharing of such compromising photos is punishable by a fine ranging between €3,000 and €5,000 or a maximum two years’ imprisonment.

However, Zammit admitted it is difficult to clamp down on law breakers as police don’t have the power to intercept private chats and therefore rely on people to provide them with information.

Besides the Facebook lobbying, he urged people to be more cautious about who they share naked pictures with.

“It’s one thing to share those photos with a boyfriend of several years, but sometimes people are rushing into sending those images because they would have been dared,” he said. “There might be a group video chat and someone might be pressured to expose themselves and someone might take a screenshot. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine. It used to happen but now it’s happening through technology and there’s a permanent element to it.”

On a wider scale, Zammit urged Maltese society to display a sense of collective responsibility towards victims of revenge porn.

“Rather than police our way out of the issue, society should start taking more responsibility and stop it if it’s unacceptable. After all, people only post those photos online because they get the reaction they’re expecting.”

READ NEXT: Police Investigating Sharing Of Viral Video Of Maltese Couple Using Cocaine During Oral Sex

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