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Parents fear Facebook's attempt to combat revenge porn is sending the wrong message

Parents are expressing concern about Facebook's policy aimed at preventing the use of revenge porn. (Derzsi Elekes Andor / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Facebook is asking people for intimate, explicit or nude pictures to keep them from being posted on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s an effort to prevent revenge porn, which happens when someone posts an intimate photo of someone else after a breakup.

But Tennessee parents fear the idea is sending the wrong message to kids and teenagers.

Nashville resident Leah Denahey, 24, said she’s been a victim of revenge porn.

“I have found my pictures online before,” Denahey said.

Intimate pictures of her body shared in confidence -- ended up posted for the world to see.

“You see yourself online and you're like what is this,” Denahey said. “Why am I there? I thought I trusted this person and they put it online for everyone else to see."

In an effort to put the brakes on revenge porn, Facebook’s new Australian pilot program asked users to send explicit photos to them so the company can make sure those images don’t wind up on Facebook or Instagram.

“Who's looking at them?” Denahey said. “Who's taking them? What if they take a screenshot of that and do something on their own?"

Licensed psychologist Daniel Goldstein said he worries this could normalize kids and teenagers sending explicit photos to people in the first place, especially because those pictures could still be shared on other sites.

"It could go other places and it'll still be seen by their friends and by their enemies,” Goldstein said.

Facebook said it will store private picture’s using their digital fingerprints and compare uploads to its library before allowing them to be posted.

But Dr. Chris Simmons, a cybersecurity professor at Lipscomb University's College of Computing & Technology, told WZTV that modifying the picture could potentially change its fingerprint enough to get past Facebook’s security.

Meanwhile, trying to move past her bad experience, Denahey said she just hopes her story helps someone else.

"Like, honestly I don't do it anymore.” Denahey said. “I learned my lesson. I'm good but here are young kids like 13, 12 even, 11 who knows? That are sending their pictures out to these people they don't even know."

Simmons told WZTV that modifying the picture could potentially changes its fingerprint enough to get past Facebook’s security.

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