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11.06.17

Revenge porn on Facebook

Last month, The Guardian disclosed that Facebook had to assess nearly 54,000 potential cases of revenge porn and “sextortion” on the site in a single month.

Facebook defines revenge porn as attempts to use intimate imagery to shame, humiliate or gain revenge against an individual.  The significant number of cases reported to Facebook is no doubt attributable, at least in part, to the ease with which intimate images can be shared using modern technology.

While contacting Facebook directly can result in the removal of the images from the site, it has its shortcomings. Facebook has no power, for instance, to restrain the perpetrator from posting the intimate images elsewhere on the Internet. If s/he has already uploaded images to Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, then it can safely be assumed that s/he will have no qualms posting the same images to the darker corners of the web, where they can be more difficult to trace and subsequently remove.

In situations where you fear that a jilted ex might misuse images shared in confidence, then it is important to act quickly.  The law now affords considerable protection to victims of revenge porn which are summarised on our website here.  In particular, from April 2015, it became a criminal offence to share intimate images online without the subject’s consent.  Celebrities across the world have availed themselves of such legal protection – for instance, the recent case of Mischa Barton who successfully stopped her ex-partner from selling a sex tape.

The key in revenge porn cases is to act quickly to prevent widespread dissemination of the images. Unauthorised disclosure is often threatened at the most inconvenient times, but judges have long been aware of the out of hours threat.  Hearings can be scheduled at very short notice at which a Judge may grant an order immediately preventing disclosure of the intimate material which will almost certainly be regarded as private and confidential by the Court.  In recent times, the Court has grappled with the means and speed by which unlawful material can be disseminated and has made appropriate orders to address these issues. In the revenge porn civil case of JPH v XYZ & Ors [2015] EWHC 2871, for instance, Mr Justice Popplewell granted an order requiring the perpetrator to disclose the names of any third party to whom the images had already been passed and any internet sites on which they had been posted.  The Court may be less likely to grant such orders when the material in question has become widely available online, hence the imperative to act fast.

 

Click here to find out how Brett Wilson LLP privacy solicitors can assist you if you have been a victim of revenge porn.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.


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