Report and take down non consensual pornographic content (revenge porn) in  online platforms

General Recommendations

Although online platforms increasingly offer tools to combat this kind of gender violence, they not always offer an ideal solution. As a general recommendation, if a platform has no specific tool to report the non-consensual sharing of intimate material, there are three paths you can follow:

Report pornography or nudity.
Most platforms don’t allow this kind of content. Unfortunately, this is a conservative solution because no one should be against it if it has been made within legal frameworks and with the consent of the involved along all steps.

Report a privacy violation.
Most platforms also provide tools in case your personal data is disclosed without your consent.

Report copyrights violation.
Hollywood’s big copyright lobby forces all online platforms to provide specific forms to report copyright violation. Acoso.Online doesn’t explore this possibility, but if you have the authorship of the video or image you may also use this tool to report the case.

As you will see, some tools may be a little confusing and don’t give any time guarantees to process the cases – which are sometimes so complex that the available solutions are not enough. Therefore, in this section you will find the most clear and honest information about the reporting possibilities offered by the most popular platforms.

Search Engines

Almost all Internet traffic goes through search engines and it is very important to remove the non-consensual content from them. However, you should take into account that even if the search engines avoid results to appear in the search, they are NOT able to directly remove content from the websites (in order to do this, you must contact the webmaster of the particular page).

 

Google
In its Removal Policies, Google states they can remove content from their search results if it includes “nude or sexually explicit images that were uploaded or shared without your consent”. There are two ways to remove content published without your consent:

1. You must fill out this form .

When you open the form, we recommend you to make sure the following options are selected before you report the case: Remove information you see in Google Search > In Google’s search results and on a website > For the question “Have you contacted the site’s webmaster?”, select the option that most applies to you > A nude or sexually explicit picture or video of myself > Yes > No

The form that appears right after these options has no title, but its introductory text says “We recognize that the non-consensual posting of fake nude and sexually explicit images and videos is distressing for victims. Remember to have the URL of the content you want to be removed (at this point Google gives you some instructions on how to get it). You will also have to provide screenshots of the material.

2. In case that a non-consensual content has already been removed from the website but keeps appearing in Google’s search results, you can report the specific link found on Google’s results in this form and check if it was finally removed from the cache. In order to open the form you must be logged in some Google service, like Gmail.

 

Yahoo!
The Yahoo! Safety Centerstates: “Yahoo deeply respects the privacy of our users and takes matters of abuse very seriously. We are committed to providing an enjoyable and harassment-free experience on our network, and as part of that commitment, Non-Consensual Pornography is not tolerated”.

This search engine provides a form, in which you must select the Yahoo! product related to the report that you want to submit (in this case, click on “Yahoo Search!” and then on “Open a case with us”). This should open a final form to make the report. Unfortunately, you must have a Yahoo! account in order to access this form. No one from Acoso.Online has Yahoo!, therefore, what follows here is the information they say they will ask you to provide:

– If you have this information, report the “Yahoo ID” (Yahoo! User Name) of the person who shared the material without your authorization.
– Send the URL of the results where the materials appear.
– Send the URL of the content you’re reporting.
– List the keywords used to find the material in the search engine.

Be aware that they may ask your real identity further in the investigation process and that you may have to provide a copy of an identity document with photo (passport, drive license, local identity card).

 

Bing
The search engine developed by Microsoft warns that in order “To help victims get back control of their images and their privacy, upon review, Bing may remove links to revenge porn photos and videos from search results”. There are two steps you can take:

1. Bing created a reporting form for non-consensual sexual material. Watch out that they may ask you – even if it’s not a mandatory requirement – if you have legal documentation on the case. If Microsoft responds positively to your request, they will remove the content from their search results and will forbid it to be shared in their platforms (Skype, MSN, OneDrive and Outlook).

2. If a non-consensual material has already been removed from a website but keeps appearing in Bing search results, you can use this form to report the specific link found in the Bing search and make sure the cache was finally deleted. Please note that in order to do that you must have a Microsoft account, so this makes things a bit more difficult. For more instructions, click here.

 

DuckDuckGo
In Acoso.Online we like DuckDuckGo as a search engine a lot because its main declared goal is to take care of our privacy. Unfortunately, and despite this premise, it has no reporting protocol for non-consensual pornography cases. So far, we haven’t had any success to get in touch with them to work on a solution.

Social Networks

The most popular websites today are, by far, social networks. If your non-consensual sexual material is circulating on them, remember the social networks can help you to stop it, but this doesn’t mean they can make it disappear from other websites displaying the material.

 

Facebook

There are two options you can follow separately or together to report a non-consensual pornography incident that violates the community policies. In order to do this, unfortunately, you must have a Facebook account and be logged in.

1. Report photos or videos that violate the community policies anonymously. This is the path you should follow: Click the photo you want to report. If the profile is locked and you can’t view the full-sized photo, click Give feedback or report photo. > Hover over the photo and click Options in the bottom right. > Select Give feedback on this photo > Choose the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.

2. You also can report the person in Facebook who is sharing the offensive content. Before you send your report, go to the person’s profile and copy the Facebook URL and his or her e-mail address. You can only use this form if you are a Facebook user (which seems great to us from Acoso.Online).

Remember that if you want to take legal action, you might need a screenshot or some other documentation of the post. Facebook gives you instructions on how to do that. In most cases, Facebook states they will deactivate the account as a punishment for sharing intimate images without consent.

 

Twitter

Twitter rules say specifically “you may not post or share intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent. Media depicting sexual violence and/or assault is also not permitted. Note: limited exceptions may apply if there is clear context that the interaction is consensual”.

They also state “some forms of adult content and consensual nudity are permitted on Twitter. For this reason, we need to evaluate context to recognize if content has been created and/or shared without the consent of those involved”. For this reason, the platform explains that, in order to avoid errors in the analyses of these cases, there are two kinds of reports:

1. Reports which must not necessarily be sent by the affected person directly to twitter because it may be difficult to recognize one of these cases and, consequently, to report them. What cases does Twitter exactly mean?

– creepshots or upskirts – photographs or video taken of people’s buttocks, up an individual’s skirt/dress or other clothing without consent;
– a bounty or financial reward in exchange for intimate media;
– depictions of sexual violence and/or assault;
– media that is accompanied by;
– a personal association between the poster and those depicted e.g., “this is my ex”
– wishing/hoping harm or revenge on those depicted e.g., “I hope that you get what you deserve when people see this”
– information that could be used to contact those depicted e.g., “you can tell them what you think by calling them on 1234567”.

We suppose that you should report the cases listed above directly to Twitter. In order to do this, you should take the following path: click on the arrow on the Twitt menu > Report Twitt > It’s abusive or harmful > Next > Includes private information > Next > select the answer to the question ‘Who owns this private information?’ > Then ‘Add up to 5 Tweets to this report’ and click on the blue button.

2. If your case is not included among those mentioned in point 1, then Twitter will need the directly affected person, or his/her legal representative, or a close person, to report the case using a special form. Once you’re there, remember:

– Select the option “An unauthorized photo or video of me”,
– Have the URL of the twits sharing the non-consensual content with you.
– Also, you will have space to add more background information: try always to do it in a clear and organised way.

Please note that Twitter unfortunately still does not accept screenshots, which effectively means that an abusive account that removes the evidence can’t be reported.

Once the content is reported, the platform states: “We will immediately and permanently suspend any account that we identify as the original poster of intimate media that was created or distributed without the subject’s consent, as well as any account that solely posts this type of content, e.g., accounts dedicated to sharing upskirt images”.

It is notable that Twitter offers an appeal tool to the person who believes his or her account has been unfairly suspended.

 

Instagram

Following a very conservative strand, Instagram (that belongs to Facebook) says that “for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram”, and continues saying “It also includes some photos of female nipples” (what about male nipples? Oh, that’s ok). However, non-consensual sexual graphic material is not particularly mentioned, which makes it difficult to decide which path to take to report it (as pornography or as privacy violation?).

In this Instagram mess, we describe the possibilities we’ve found:

1. Fill out the form “Report Violations of Our Community Guidelines”. When it comes so far, remember to choose the option “Nudity or pornography” and to have the links of the material you want to report. If you know whoever uploaded the material, you can also send their contact information and add more details about the case.

2. Fill out the form “Report Violation of your Privacy Rights on Instagram”. It gives you the option to choose between reporting a photo or a video, you should have the link of the material you want to report and you can provide a detailed description of the reasons why it violates your privacy rights.

3. If you have an Instagram account, the app integrates an option to report published content and users. The path is: Report > It’s inappropriate > Nudity or pornography.

4. Since there is no clear way to report a non-consensual pornography case, it’s also an option to file a report using an Instagram account following this path: Report > Harassment or bullying.

In cases 3 and 4, Instagram states that if you report someone’s post, the platform will not disclose your identity to the user.

It is very important to have in mind that:
– There is no concrete information about how long they take to review your report and take action.

 

Snapchat

Snapchat states: “We prohibit accounts that promote or distribute pornographic content”, and continues: “Never post, save, or send nude or sexual content involving anyone under the age of 18 — even of yourself”; “Don’t take Snaps of people in private spaces – like a bathroom, locker room […] – without their knowledge and consent”. In spite of that, Snapchat doesn’t explicitly mention the non-consensual distribution of intimate material, and this makes reporting even more confusing.

In this scenario, only a few tools are offered, but at least they’re available in more languages than the last time we reviewed them, in Juy 2018:

1. Report a Story: Go to the offending Snap > Press and hold on the Snap > Tap the flag button that appears in the bottom-left corner > Nudity or sexual content.

2. There is also a form on the web, which appears only after you take the following path: Report a safety concern > A Snapchatter’s story > Tap “Yes” under “Still need help?” and this will bring up a form that lets upload files and enter additional information related to your report.

Please bear in mind:

– According to the platform “reporting features are only available in a few countries at the moment”. So if you don’t see the flag icon, try the form.

– There’s no information about how long they take to analyse the report and they also do not mention what happens with the personal information you’ve sent them.

– What they do state is that if a user violates their community guidelines, they “may remove the offending content, terminate your account, or even notify law enforcement. If your account is terminated for violating our Terms of Service or these Guidelines, you may not use Snapchat again”.

oie

Porn Website

Porn Websites are significant distribution platforms for non-consensual intimate material. Some of them provide forms to report these cases.

 

Pornhub

Pornhub (part of MindGeek company) states: “Pornhub takes all content removal requests seriously. Should you be a victim of revenge porn, blackmailing or intimidation because of a video or photo of yourself on our sites that you did not authorize, please complete the form below and we will remove the content expeditiously.”

Therefore, this website allows you to:
Complete a form to report the non-consensual publishing of sexual content in which you appear. Remember to answer NO when they ask you if the issue is related to copyright infringement. You should have the URL of the content you want to be removed, answer NO to the question “Have you ever agreed to the distribution of this content?” and give a reason why you want the content to be removed.

Please have in mind:
– The only information about the time limit to study the case is “we will remove the content promptly”.

 

Youporn

The Service Terms of Youporn (which is also part of MindGeek) are in English and nothing in them indicates that the platform directly offers support to the victims of non-consensual pornography. However, we got to know through the press that they do have a special form to report this kind of cases.

It mentions: “If you encounter photos or videos of yourself on our platform that you have not granted rights or permission to disseminate, please use the form below to notify us so that we can remove it”.

When you complete the form, make sure you answer NO to the question “Is this issue related to copyright infringement?“. This is because if you choose to do your report based on copyright infringement, there is another form for that.

You must have the URL of the Youporn videos you want to be removed and make sure you answer No to the question “Have you ever agreed to the distribution of this content?“. You also have the possibility to include the reasons you have to believe this content should be removed.

Messenger Services

These are services you can use to send messages and to make calls and video-calls (WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, Wire, Signal, iMessage, among others). First of all, you should consider that these are private communications services (this means, just between users invited into the conversation), and in fact it’s a guarantee to our human rights that the companies behind theses services commit not to review these contents (even though technically they often have access to them). Nonetheless, here we provide you with general advice and some specific recommendations for each service.

 

General recommendations about these services:

The messenger service companies can only disclose the content of a private communication (like a chat) under judicial orders, in this case, issued by a local court (this means, you have to take legal action first).

Many times these companies do not have legal representation in our countries (most of them are located in the USA). This implies very variable procedure times before you come to a resolution.

In addition, many of these companies have end-to-end encryption to ensure more privacy in our communications. This effectively means that even under judicial order it will be impossible for any third party (which clearly includes states and even the company) to access these contents in some of the cases.

However, you should know that encrypting communications block access to contents but not to metadata. This means that the companies can keep and provide information such as the day and time at which communications were made, user names and telephone numbers of those who took part in the communication, among other details that are very significant for a criminal investigation. Law enforcement authorities may also analyse the devices involved in such activities if access to them is provided.

Our recommendation is that you collect and keep evidence of the exchange of non-consensual pornography, for example, taking screenshots from chats. This will be crucial at the moment you decide to contact law enforcement authorities.

Remember: even if law enforcement authorities can’t have access to the communication content, this doesn’t mean the sharing of non-consensual pornography through these services is not subject to punishment.

 

WhatsApp

Among the legal and acceptable uses established in its Service Terms, WhatsApp (which belongs to Facebook) states that: “You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that: (a) violate, misappropriate, or infringe […] privacy rights […]; (b) are illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, intimidating, harassing […]”. As you may notice, there is no particular mention about the distribution of intimate material without consent, but you may argue that it is similarly against its terms of service.

Besides, Whatsapp says: “We encourage you to report problematic content to us. Please keep in mind that to help ensure the safety, confidentiality and security of your messages, we generally do not have the contents of messages available to us, which limits our ability to verify the report and take action.”

To report issues:
• On Android: Simply go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > Help > Contact us.
• On iPhone: Simply go to WhatsApp > Settings > Help > Contact Us.
• On Windows Phone: Simply go to WhatsApp > more > settings > about > support.

The report must be detailed so they can understand the problem.

 

Telegram

Telegram has no Terms of Service and in its FAQ section there is no mention about the sharing of intimate content without consent. Also there is no possibility to report anything.

The immediate reaction is trying to remove, through all means, any intimate content published without your consent on any platform. This is perfectly understandable. However, both platforms and the judicial system will ask you to provide evidence of the case, so it’s important to keep it. For this reason, before you take any action, read the following recommendations.

1. Keep evidence before you delete the material
– Make screenshots from the websites where the material appears. Make sure you get the whole page, including the URL. You can keep these screenshots in PDF format.

– If the content is a video, download it and save it in a hard drive.

– If you have text or e-mail messages that may be relevant, please make screenshots and keep them.

– Make sure the screenshots show the day, hour and any other data that may serve identification purposes. If it’s a group chat, for example, take not only a screenshot of the photo or video, but also of the members of the group.

– Think of all evidences that, besides the intimate material on the platform, may be relevant to the case, for example, threatening emails or text messages. Keep a copy of everything.

2. Backup the evidence collected
– It’s important that you keep evidence safely; you must avoid it to fall into the hands of unauthorized third parties.

– Organize the evidences in a folder. A good method is to organize them by the day in which the material appeared, for example. But you may create a system that makes sense to you and that helps you find the evidences easily.

– We recommend you to keep all evidence in a digital folder and also to have a printed copy somewhere.

– Even if you keep all the evidence in an organised way, it’s possible that, as time passes, the facts get confusing. Because of that, organizations like “Without My Consent” recommend you to make an evidence chart and organize important information there. Here you can obtain a copy of the chart .