If you’re not familiar with the term ‘revenge porn’, it’s when sexually explicit or provocative images are shared without the permission of one party (often an ex partner) in order to ruin their reputation.

According to a press release from Facebook, tools will be available on Facebook, Messenger and the Facebook-owned Instagram in a bid to build a safer online community.

So how will these tools work? Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety for Facebook, says users can report the image as they’ve always been able to do. Then, “specially trained representatives” will remove the image if it violates their community standards. This would most likely lead to the offending account being disabled.

But this is where the fancy new tools come in – Facebook will then use photo-matching technology to stop the image being shared again.

If someone does try to share the image again, Facebook will alert them that it violates their policies and that they have stopped their attempt to share the image.

Read more about it here.

Revenge porn is a major problem, with ABC News reporting that there were an estimated 2000 revenge porn websites in 2016. There are no new stats to tell us what the number could be now. 

In South Africa, according to Huffington Post, a bill was drafted back in 2015 to criminalise revenge porn. Two years later, it still hasn’t been passed though, leaving victims with few options as how to combat the problem legally.  

This annual survey from the nonprofit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative says that 90% of revenger porn victims are women. Among those victims, 93% said they had experienced significant emotional distress, 82% reported suffering significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Over half of these victims indicated that they had even considered committing suicide.

We’ve all heard stories of women being affected by revenge porn, be they every day women who accidentally share an image in a whatsapp group and then have the image shared over and over again, or celebrities whose phones were hacked and naked pictures leaked for the world to see.

Perhaps these new tools from Facebook will be effective in crunching down on those who think sharing these images are actually okay. But Facebook has failed in their attempts before, remember when they deleted Tess Holliday’s image from their site because it “violated” their health and image policy?

Here’s hoping that this really will aid in cutting down on the spreading of these images.