Originally posted by Jeff John Roberts on Fortune.com on October 8, 2015—
“Facebook’s software is a whiz at finding friends and picking out faces in photos. Now, the company will use its expertise to help find bad guys and rescue young victims of sex-trafficking operations.
On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Facebook FB 1.08% engineers will help his office use “innovative data and analytical methods” to combat online child sex operations.
The plan involves the use of algorithms to scour internet ads, according to a press release describing the initiative. Specifically, the algorithms will look for patterns in images, text, phone numbers, and other data that turns up on sites where commercial sex is sold.
“Facebook is pleased to be working with Attorney General Schneiderman on his efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking. We look forward to helping the Attorney General and his staff bring attention to this important issue,” said Facebook’s director of state public policy.
Facebook declined to further provide details, but a likely guess is the project will draw on Facebook’s massive database of “faceprints” to identify victims who appear in the sex ads. Faceprints serve as distinct digital identifiers, similar to a fingerprint, that are based on the unique contours of a person’s face. Facebook uses the technology to suggest tags for people when users post a photos.”
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