Facebook is stepping up its efforts around the country to help address online privacy issues through legislation. In the state of New York, Facebook is currently supporting bills that would make so-called “revenge porn” a crime, as well as legislation that would ban employers from asking for access to employees’ digital accounts.
“Revenge porn” is a type of sexual harassment that involves an ex-partner disseminating nude or sexual photos of someone that were taken with the victim’s consent in the context of a private relationship. It’s a tricky legal subject; posting nude photos of someone without their consent is already illegal, but the fact that the images were taken during a relationship makes the practice harder to create a legal precedent for. Facebook itself is not liable for what its users post, and while revenge porn violates Facebook’s community standards, all it takes is for an image to be online for several hours before it can gain a life of its own forever.
“It’s a terrible practice, and we’re supporting bills to outlaw the practice around the country,” said Will Castleberry, Facebook’s director of state and local public policy. Facebook is also supporting a bill in New York that would prohibit employers or schools from asking current employees and students for their social media passwords.