Facebook to scan for child porn

May 19, 2011
Facebook's chief technology officer said Thursday that the social network will start scanning for child pornography and images of missing children.

Facebook's chief technology officer said Thursday that the social network will start scanning for child pornography and images of missing children.

Facebook is teaming up with Microsoft and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to use photo "fingerprint" technology to search for pictures matching those in the US organization's data base.

"We care deeply" about stopping abuse, officer Bret Taylor said while revealing the alliance during testimony at a US hearing in Washington on mobile phone and Internet privacy.

Microsoft PhotoDNA technology used at search engine Bing and online file storage service SkyDrive will be put to work at the world's leading social network.

PhotoDNA has already evaluated more than two billion digital pictures at Microsoft services, finding 1,000 matches on SkyDrive and 1,500 matches through Bing image indexing, according to Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit associate general counsel Bill Harmon.

"PhotoDNA identified horrific images on our services that we would have never found otherwise," Harmon said.

With Facebook among the world's largest photo-sharing services, "their participation in the PhotoDNA program will significantly expand the program's impact," Harmon added.

Each month Facebook users share more than 30 billion pieces of content including pictures, news stories, blog posts, and Web links, according to Microsoft.

"Identifying graphic in a sea of content like that is a daunting task, but PhotoDNA is helping to find the proverbial needle in a haystack," Harmon said.

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