Revenge porn is the practice of posting nude pictures of someone with the express intent of destroying their reputation. Often these pictures are given to the original poster in confidence, usually in the context of a romantic relationship. The culprit is usually an ex; this is so iconic that one of the sites where this phenomenon takes place is named MyEx. com. Currently, this practice is legal in most states.
In fact, photographs aren’t the only reputation threat. Usually the original poster adds some sort of angry commentary, and usually that content is more than slanderous. One needs a strong stomach to read some of what is said even on a single page of MyEx.com. All of this is paired with the victim’s personal information. Accusations of prostitution and drug abuse are common, as is commentary on the victim’s prowess in bed.
We had high hopes for the California Revenge Porn law when it was first introduced. But unfortunately, the final verdict is in, and it looks like it’s not going to do much to protect victims.
A recent article in Forbes outlined every single loophole and exception that the law contains. The selfie exception (which exempts 80% of revenge porn victims) has already been well-discussed. But the other exceptions will do plenty to ensure that the other 20% can’t get much in the way of justice, either. The author of the article professed that he would be surprised if we see many prosecutions under the law.
From a reputation management standpoint the big issue is the issue of redistribution. The only person who is facing criminal penalties under California law is the very first person who posted the picture.
Someone else can pick up the picture, display it to 500 friends on Facebook, and face no criminal penalties whatsoever. Or they can copy it to their blog or even scrape it to start their own site.
The viral nature of the Internet plays into all of the reasons why it is difficult to protect an online reputation in the first place. Without a vast network of resources and tools at your disposal it can be a little like playing a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole. You can remove one photograph only to find six or seven more popping up in its place.
Fortunately, for victims in California (and the other 48 states that do not have revenge porn laws on the books), the legal system is not the only way to shut down revenge porn. Reputation management companies, like InternetReputation.com, specialize in getting photographs removed from places like MyEx.com, restoring your reputation, your safety, and your peace of mind online. InternetReputation.com can end the game of whack-a-mole in as little as 72 hours, removing all negative content and replacing it with a web presence that anyone would be proud to have.
It won’t punish your tormenter. But sometimes, moving on and having a happy life is the best revenge of all.