Woman shocked over details on 'revenge porn' site

Revenge porn concept image Image copyright PA
Image caption The maximum punishment for revenge porn is two years in prison

A woman was shocked to discover her personal details on a website listing names of women who men were discussing attacking and raping.

Becky, which is not her real name, found her details and location on a so-called "revenge porn" forum, alongside those of thousands of others.

The 22-year-old from Middlesbrough found words had been uploaded in a coded way to avoid search engines.

The site, which the BBC is not naming, said it removed illegal content.

Becky found her name and those of three of her friends had been posted on the site, alongside those of other women and girls from Teesside and around the world.

She wrote about her shock in a Twitter post that went viral and thousands of other women who were alerted to the site found videos of rapes, posts rating women's bodies, and images of child abuse.

Men could also request details about women in their area.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The site promised VIP members "over one terabyte of porn that is growing daily"

Becky told BBC Tees: "I've been put up with three other people, two of them are my best friends, another is a girl I went to school with, and we all lived within five minutes of each other.

"So it's obviously someone we know who was asking for our details and for pictures of us.

"It's like 'Do we see this person every day? Do we speak to this person?' And now I've posted it on to Twitter, their comments [on the site] have been deleted.

"It's as if they've seen it and they don't want to be caught. It's scary.

"It's been going on for nearly 10 years, it goes back to 2010. I phoned the police and they said they can't do anything about it because they don't know who owns the website."

Image caption The website boasted about the number of images it hosted

The site promised VIP members "over one terabyte of porn that is growing daily". The BBC understands it is based in Finland.

Thousands of women have now signed a petition calling for it to be closed after Becky brought it to their attention.

"It's absolutely massive and the police are doing nothing about it," she said. "The police are meant to be there to protect you. I can't believe people are actually that twisted.

"I've spoken to a number of girls, one was 13 at the time her photos were put up, that's the youngest I've spoken to, I know there's girls my age, it's all between the ages of 13 and 25."

Image caption Revenge porn became a specific offence in 2015

The BBC emailed the website's operators, and they replied: "All posts to our services are posted by our anonymous users around the world not by [website name].

"We carry out daily active moderation and have clear rules on what is allowed to be posted, we also offer removal forms in the rare cases for content that is deemed illegal or breaks copyright rules.

"As we have a global audience that totals 28 million users a year across our networks, we strive to ensure that any posts that do break the rules get removed in a timely manner."

Det Insp Jim Forster from Cleveland Police said: "The offence [of revenge porn] relates to the person that does the sharing of the images, we can arrest that person, they can be dealt with and they can get up to two years in prison."

He said if a case involved a big company such as Facebook or Snapchat they would generally comply with requests to take material down, but lesser-known websites, or ones run by criminals, could tend to ignore the police.

"It's unlikely we'd be able who trace who owns the website if it's foreign based," he said. "The reality is getting those images removed is nigh-on impossible."

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