Facebook utilizes Microsoft PhotoDNA technology to combat child porn

By Tom Warren, on 19th May 11 4:00 pm with 12 Comments

Microsoft and Facebook announced a unique new partnership on Thursday.

The social media giant is taking advantage of Microsoft’s PhotoDNS technology to identify online child pornography. Microsoft’s technology can track pictures even if they are altered or cropped and uploaded to online services. The technology is based on Microsoft’s Research investments. Facebook is the first service to start using the free technology.

Facebook has started using PhotoDNA to track down thousands of images uploaded to its servers every day. The social networking site has around 200 million images uploaded by its users every day. PhotoDNA works by creating a unique identifier for an image known to contain child pornography. The identifier represents the image and allows Microsoft’s technology to scan large data sets in a similar way to how antivirus programs operate.

The New York times, who first reported the partnership, note that Microsoft has tested the technology on its own SkyDrive, Windows Live and Bing services during the last year. The software giant compared 10 million images to an inventory of 10,000 illegal photos and found around 125 hits per day. “We’re very passionate about PhotoDNA because we’ve seen it work,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’ s general counsel. “We invented it through Microsoft research, and we are trying to give it away free, including to our competitors.”

Facebook will host an online press event at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Friday to explain how it’s using the technology.

  • Sergio Iacobucci

     facebook need to sort out how ‘virusy’ its is getting at the moment in general, random point i know

  • Sergio Iacobucci

     facebook need to sort out how ‘virusy’ its is getting at the moment in general, random point i know

  • Alessandro

     PhotoDNS typo :)

    • Anonymous

      O_o It’s PhotoDNA 

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      First line, second paragraph says “PhotoDNS” 

  • Alessandro

     PhotoDNS typo :)

  • rojo

    Uhhh. My question is, “How do you test this feature?”

    • Fransiscogirdles

      Very good point…..

  • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    that’s cool! i’ve also fallen victim to having an inappropriate image uploaded to my skydrive and they promptly suspended my skydrive access until i removed it lol

  • Anonymous

    10K illegal photos? are they even allowed to keep that? the existance of such database is likely a violation of federal and state laws. 

    • Mark

      They have been working with Federal and state officials for a while. I assume they got an official pass to create the database and the Feds probably supplied the content.

  • http://profiles.google.com/blueandwhite89 Daniel Purdham

     why do they make everything free.

    microsoft needs to overprice their products like apple