What is Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn is a pornographic or revealing video or image of a person that is published as part of an act of revenge without their consent. It is a new form of sexual violence that is enhanced by the new possibilities of digitisation.
Check out this VICE Documentary for more.
Why is the term "Revenge Porn" misleading?
The term revenge porn implies that revenge is the only motive for the nonconsensual distribution of pornographic content. However, it is only the disgusting tip of the iceberg. The motives are more complex and range from simple pleasure to financial interest of the publishers of these contents. As long as there is a high demand from portals or their users, such content will continue to be distributed. A more precise term is nonconsensual pornography (NCP). This means the distribution of sexually graphic image and moving image content of individuals without their consent.
How big is the problem of Nonconsensual Pornography / Revenge Porn?
After this topic had been underestimated for a long time, the extent of the problem became clear through various detailed studies. The CCRI (Cyber Civil Right Initiative), for example, has published a study showing that more than 50% of all 18-26 year olds in the USA have sent nude photos of themselves to others (so called sexting). 12.8% of all participants reported having been victims of NCP (having had a sexually-explicit image of themselves shared without their consent) or having been threatened with NCP. Even more alarming are numbers from Australia which have revealed the mass scale of victimisation across Australia, with one in five people suffering image-based abuse, according to a study by Monash University and RMIT University
What effects does Non Consensual Porn / Revenge Porn have on victims?
The victims of Revenge Porn are exposed to a very high level of psychological stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, a consequence can also be suicide, as happened in Italy, Spain, Brazil, UK or the USA.
How do politics and legislation react?
The legislation of many countries have reacted to the proliferation of Non Consensual Porn / Revenge Porn with new laws. These new laws are intended to ensure that people who fall victim to Revenge Porn can take legal action against their tormentors. There are corresponding laws in Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy), the USA, but also in Canada, the Philippines, Israel and Japan. However, there are numerous hurdles and challenges for the enforcement of the rights of those affected.
How do new technologies like Deepfake intensify the problem?
New technologies such as Deepfake allow users without programming skills to edit videos so that faces in videos can be swapped with those of third parties . It's frightening how real such fake videos can seem. This means that you also can appear in pornographic content without having the slightest idea. It is as simply as letting someone have a few pictures of you and they can swap your face with that of a porn actor. Initial efforts are being made to tackle Deepfake in general. Facebook e.g. is starting to ban Deepfake from it's platform in order to prevent such crime, with a focus on fake news. But most Deepfakes are used for Creating Non-Consensual Porn. Control is extremely difficult and there are several possibilities of dissemination.
People - Which known people were already affected by revenge porn as well as deepfake? Who tries to stand up for a better world?
In recent years there have been numerous public figures whose story has become known. Sometimes, their stories have become known unintentionally. Other times, some brave victims have consciously chosen to make their story public in order to draw attention to the issue and use their fame to use it to take action against revenge porn. The victims come from all walks of life, from actors to politicians. The following is an overview of those who were affected by revenge porn including some links of reportings/ news articles.
Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried
Rob Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner
Marilyn Monroe, Hugh Hefner
In the following is a list of TED talks in which the topic revenge porn is explored in depth. Victims tell their story in detail and people talk about stories of revenge porn. They all try to make a statement and to bring the topic into focus. If there are extra links regarding the person (besides the TED talk links) it is also mentioned.
As described above, Deepfake can be used to cut faces into videos so that it seems as if you actually appear in the video. Numerous publicly known people have already been victims of this technology. A short overview is shown below.
At the end, the following TED talk shows how Deepfakes undermine truth and threaten democracy, also in relation to revenge porn.