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8 REASONS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR SOCIAL …

Revenge Porn, Social Media

8 REASONS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES TO BAN REVENGE PORN

April 17, 2015

Today Instagram clarified its ban on revenge porn.  It joins three other social media behemoths (Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit) which have made similar announcements in the last two months. Shouts to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and particularly our Exec Director, Holly Jacobs, and our Tech and Legislative Policy guru, Mary Anne Franks, for catalyzing change by bombing Silicon Valley with the truth.

Why these policies are worth the zeros and ones they’re printed on:

1) Offenders are now violating user terms and could be disciplined or banned for posting intimate images without consent.

2) Victims can now point to a specific rule when trying to explain to the company why the image should be removed.

3) In most cases, these policies are combined with new easy-to-use procedures for victims to report the revenge porn, such as forms or drop-down options within the service itself.  (Twitter has taken it a step farther with easier way for victims to organize abusive messages for purposes of law enforcement and litigation.)

4) Victims no longer must send technical legal notices (i.e. DMCA letters) to these websites claiming copyright infringement in order to have images removed.  Nor does it matter who originally took the picture, which is relevant in copyright issues, but does not matter with these policies.

5) It’s socially meaningful for these massive companies to adopt the attitude that revenge porn is unacceptable and intolerable.

6) The policies imply a recognition by the companies that their products, if misused, are weapons.  That is, social media easily transforms from being wondrous means of fostering remote communications to ruinous means for deploying devastating abuse.

7) Promoting online safety is trending. The intolerance of revenge porn is contagious and it’s just a matter of time before more companies jump aboard to keep their competitive edge and to gain political favor.

8) It sets the groundwork for more innovative measures these tech companies can explore to fight revenge porn For example, search engines could change their algorithms so that revenge porn websites are buried/eliminated when a victim’s name is typed in. PhotoDNA techniques could identify revenge porn images that have gone viral, similar to what’s used for child pornography.  Platforms could automatically detect when nude images are being uploaded onto social media and prompt the uploader to declare that he’s obtained advanced consent.

For information about these policies, and how to report revenge porn on these platforms, follow this link.