Facebook is expanding its efforts to fight child pornography using Microsoft technology, Redmond announced in a blog post yesterday.
The world's largest social network has joined the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's PhotoDNA program. The service, which was developed by Microsoft Research and Dartmouth College in 2009, uses image-matching technology to find known depictions of child pornography across the Web. Facebook plans to use the technology across its network to ensure child pornography is not circulating through the site.
Microsoft has been using PhotoDNA with great success since the service's development. According to the company, it has analyzed more than 2 billion images through its Bing image search and SkyDrive. So far, it has found 1,500 matches and 1,000 matches on Bing and SkyDrive, respectively.
"Many of these images recirculate on the Internet time and time again, even many years after the original crime occurred and the abuser has been brought to justice," Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children wrote on Microsoft's blog. "And every time these crime scene images are viewed, the children in the images are re-victimized. PhotoDNA aims to break this cycle, so the images of abuse need not haunt these children online forever."
This isn't Facebook's first move to stem the proliferation of child pornography on the Web. Last year, the company, along with MySpace, joined forces with then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, now governor of New York, to develop a "digital fingerprints" database. The tool would be used by the social networks to analyze a photo before it's uploaded to see if it matches the database of pornographic images. If so, the upload process would be blocked.
"Protecting Facebook users, especially the many young people who use our site, has always been a top priority and we devote significant resources to developing innovative systems to proactively monitor the site for suspicious activity and the rare cases of illegal content," Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan said last year after Facebook announced its partnership with the attorney general.
Facebook plans to make an official announcement on its partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on PhotoDNA later today. Those who are interested in hearing more about its plans can watch live starting at 12 p.m. PT. Users can also ask questions and have them answered by a panel discussing the launch.