This was an actual headline in my newsfeed today, "Facebook wants you to upload nude photos of yourself".
And of course, to no surprise the story is ALL over the news and making headlines around the world. I have to admit, when I first read that headline I thought, "What the heck??". But I did two things:
1. I read the article and then searched and read other news stories to get all of the facts and information I could about the story.
2. I used my common sense to figure out what the story was actually about.
Spoiler alert: Facebook does not want anyone to send them nude photos.
If you want a good synopsis of why this story is in the headlines: Facebook is working with the Australian government agency e-Safety on a pilot project to prevent people from sharing intimate images without consent. If you are an Australian Facebook and Instagram user, and if you are concerned you may be or may become a victim of "revenge porn", you are asked to contact the Office of the eSafety Commissioner
The part that happens next is what made the headlines - they may ask you to send the nude photo to via Facebook Messenger. Yes, that is a fact. Facebook will use a special technology to create a digital footprint that will track that photo and ensure that others cannot upload the same image through the social media platform. The image is not stored by Facebook. If someone tries to upload that photo, Facebook will prevent that photo from being shared.
You may be asking why are they doing this? According to the e-Safety Commissioner of Australia's website, one in five women between 18 - 45 are victims of revenge porn. This could mean that at one time you send someone a photo of you with your consent, but you did not consent to it being distributed to someone else.
Here are the important points for you to takeaway:
1. If you are under 18, NEVER share a photo of yourself naked. This is really important to talk to your teen about. (No judgement if you are over 18, you do what is right for you. Be safe about it and understand you assume the risks of that photo ending up in other people's hands).
2. Gather as much information about the news stories before you freak out. Headlines are meant to capture attention and can be misleading.
3. Use your common sense. If you are totally unfamiliar with the social media platform that the media might be talking about in the article, google it. Ask a friend who is knowledgeable about social media, or go to our Facebook Page and ask a question. I can help answer it!