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How do you remove your porn from internet forums and social media?

Finding your private photos/videos on the internet, especially when they involve nudity or are sexual in nature is the ultimate nightmare especially if the content was uploaded without your knowledge/consent. Even worse, such material tends to go viral once it has been uploaded making it extremely hard to remove from the internet.

For social media sites, there are strict policies for dealing with nudity. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter each have their own guidelines regarding inappropriate material. Facebook has the most stringent policy, but Twitter doesn’t mediate content, instead allowing users to flag their own media as “containing sensitive content.” With numerous reporting and complaint mechanisms in place, removing embarrassing or inappropriate content is a fairly straightforward process when it comes to social media. More harmful, and often more difficult, is removing content from the dreaded revenge pornography sites which are growing by the day.

The crime

Before going into how to remove the material, it is imperative first to understand the crime. Netizens often find their explicit private photos/videos online without their consent, which is typically the work of ex-spouses, ex-boyfriends or girlfriends and sometimes hackers as well. In many instances, victims are afraid of coming forth with their complaints about fear of exposure and humiliation given the embarrassing nature of the crime.

In some instances, contacting the website is enough, but many websites won’t honor your requests to have the content pulled down which results in further embarrassments. With the internet and social media, a third party can easily access your photos and worse still; they can make them look more obscene and vulgar and upload them in one of the many revenge pornography sites.  Deleting such an online presence is not as easy as some people think. While some sites have a policy requiring removal of content within 48 hours of notification, you can never be sure whether a user has already downloaded the video and uploaded it on another site. It is certainly a tough situation to find yourself in, but what are the options? Let’s take a look.

Prevention

Many people don’t like living in a world where they can’t share their private photos with their loved ones. But the sad reality is, you are never sure where the intimate photo or video you share might end up. You may trust the person you are sharing the content with, but things can change rapidly in a relationship.

Here is the bad news; once you hit the send button, there are simply no guarantees that the content will be safe. If you don’t want your mother seeing what you do in your free time, don’t send your nudes to anyone and worst, don’t upload them on social media. Prevention is better than cure!

Legal action

If your porn has already found its way onto the internet, the next option is to consider legal action and do it quickly.  First, take a screenshot of the places your content exists. Then contact the sites hosting the inappropriate content and request them to pull it down. This mostly doesn’t work, but it is important to display your willingness to remove the content if you are building a legal case.

This is not an easy route either. While many states have anti-cyber harassment laws that may be applied in case of revenge pornography, you are required to show that the content was uploaded intentionally to cause emotional distress which is a tall order in itself.

Technological advancements have outpaced the ability to regulate, and laws against revenge porn do little also to help in pulling down content. As the victim, you will be left to do much of the dirty work.  Copyright law is usually your best bet, but you might require the services of an attorney. No one said it was supposed to be easy.

Copyright laws

Majority of the revenge porn images are considered ‘selfies’ which means the victim and the photographer are the same person. If it’s your picture, then you own the copyright, precisely the reason you should not delete the original image.

Google, for instance, doesn’t list results with copyrighted material and the hosting site can be re-indexed via a DMCA takedown.  The content might still be on the porn site, but it won’t show on Google results. But for that to happen:

  • You need to be the copyright owner
  • You must identify the copyrighted work (by attaching the original)
  • Provide information regarding the copyright infringement

If the photo was taken without your knowledge, it means you don’t own copyright which makes it an even more complicated process. Let’s say the photo was loaded on a forum; you may be required to upload another non-graphic image of yourself into the thread so the page can have copyrighted material on it. You may leverage the copyright law to have the content removed, although it doesn’t always work. It is worth a try nonetheless.

Request Google to take it down

Google is now honoring requests to have revenge porn removed from search results. According to Google’s SVP of Google Search, Amit Singha, “Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging and are meant only to degrade the victims — predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results”.

You can now submit removal requests through an online form which is a major step to having your explicit content removed from search results.

Finally

The internet is here to stay. This means you have to be picky about the videos and photos you share. It is all fun and games until embarrassing photos of you find their way into porn sites and social networks. Having them removed will be a slow, embarrassing, and painstaking process which you would do with avoiding altogether by taking care.

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