Facebook is open-sourcing two technologies on GitHub to detect identical and nearly identical photos and videos in order to curb the spread of abusive content and share hashes — or digital fingerprints — of different types of harmful content, the company announced in its blog post.

According to Facebook, the photo-matching algorithm, PDQ has been inspired from pHash although it was built from the ground up as a distinct algorithm with independent software implementation. The video-matching technology, TMK+PDQF, was developed together by Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research team and academics from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.

How will the technology work?

Both the technologies, PDQ and TMK+PDQF will store files as short digital hashes that can determine whether if two files are same or similar, even without using the original image or video. Also, digital hashes can be easily shared with other companies and non-profits. For example, when Facebook identifies terrorist propaganda on the platforms, it will remove it and hash it using a variety of techniques. These hashes will be then shared with industry partners, including smaller companies, through Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) to allow them to take down the same content if it appears on their services.

According to Facebook, both the technologies were designed to operate at a high scale, supporting video-frame-hashing and real-time applications. This technology is an addition to the company’s ongoing research in these areas, including research on new techniques to detect intentional adversarial manipulations of videos and photos to circumvent our systems.

Facebook’s changing rules to tackle spread of misleading content

  • In July, Facebook said that it is looking to reduce misleading health-related content and posts promoting products or services based on such posts on users’ news feeds.
  • In June, Facebook updated its policy for ranking comments on public posts; it will now start showing a comment more prominently when it has interactions from the Page person who originally posted it, or has comments and reactions from friends of the original poster.
  • Recently, Facebook removed 259 accounts, 102 pages, 5 Facebook groups, 4 Facebook Events and 17 Instagram accounts from UAE and Egypt who were involved in impersonating public figures and ran pages disguising themselves as local news organisations in targeted countries and promoted content about UAE.
  • In July, Facebook had also suspended several accounts and pages originating from Thailand, Russia, Ukraine and Honduras for divisive posts on Thai politics, criticisms on Ukrainian government and glorification on Honduran president.