Facebook, Google and Twitter to join forces against child pornography


Google, Facebook and Twitter have joined Internet Watch Foundation’s campaign to fight the online distribution of child pornography, reports the UK-based charity’s website.

The IT companies behind IWF will be keeping a database enabling Internet providers, social media, and data processing and storage centres to more quickly recognize and remove the illegal content on servers throughout the world. The database will consist of ‘hashes’ — unique digital fingerprints of every piece of illegal child abuse photo and video imagery.

«It means victims’ images can be identified and removed more quickly, and we can prevent known child sexual abuse images from being uploaded to the internet in the first place» the press release states.

However, IWF won’t be relying on artificial intelligence alone to search and identify the illegal images: only images hand-picked by its experts will be converted into hashes. These will be automatically provided in three main formats used by the industry: MD5, SHA-1, and PhotoDNA, the face recognition technology developed by Microsoft.

IWF’s capabilities enable it to remove 500 URLs reported to contain signs of child abuse material while creating a unique hash for each image hosted by the suspect websites. IWF predicts the number of these hashes can soon reach several millions.

Other IWF members besides Google, Facebook and Twitter include Microsoft and Yahoo.