Photo: Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It sounds paradoxical, but Facebook has come up with a new plan for combatting the insidious problem of revenge porn, and it involves sending naked pictures to Facebook. Yes, really.

The Guardian reports the company, which has faced so much criticism for its shitty handling of everything from fake news to harassment, is stepping up efforts to fight the posting of sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent. A new technology currently being piloted in Australia allows the social media giant to “hash” intimate or explicit images sent to them—essentially, it converts any images sent into a unique digital fingerprint, which then allows it to block any subsequent attempts to upload the picture. Anyone worried about a partner or ex potentially distributing such imagery can take this pre-emptive step, simply by filling out a form online and then sending the pictures or video through Messenger to the company. After hashing the image, Facebook will store it for a short time before deleting permanently, in order to ensure proper enforcement of the policy.

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While it seems counterintuitive to ask people worried about their private images being posted on social media to send those same media companies the pictures in question—especially in an era where news of hacks is steady—those working to fight revenge porn are applauding the idea. “We are delighted that Facebook is helping solve this problem,” says Carrie Goldberg, a New York-based lawyer who specializes in sexual privacy, who then gos on to applaud the rare instance of an online media company taking proactive steps to prevent revenge porn, rather than merely responding after the damage has been done.

The new technology improves on previous efforts to create digital fingerprints for images. Earlier technology by Microsoft allowed programs to fight exact matches as images posted online (as part of an effort to stop the same pictures of sexually abused children being endlessly reposted online), but abusers got around the system by slightly altering the images. The new hash software identifies even images that have been slightly altered, making it a potentially significant step forward in combatting revenge porn. Considering the super-depressing statistic that 10 percent of women under the age of 30 online have been the victim of non-consensual image sharing, this damn technology can’t get up and running soon enough.