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Everything you need to know about revenge porn site AnonMe

Surely you’ve heard of revenge porn before, but hopefully you’ve never been introduced to the term as a victim of it. Revenge porn is defined as “revealing or sexually explicit images or videos of a person posted on the internet, typically by a former sexual partner, without the consent of the subject and in order to cause them distress or embarrassment.” While many of the videos and pictures end up on mainstream porn websites such as Pornhub or YouPorn, there is one platform in particular that takes pride in specialising in revenge porn hosting: AnonMe.org

Although it is now called AnonImages instead of AnonMe, nothing else seems to have changed for the infamous website. Despite a recent crackdown on revenge porn in many countries, on AnonMe, users still share and ‘trade’ pornographic photos of others. The website somehow runs unchecked. What is AnonMe about exactly and why are we still dealing with these kinds of platforms?

What is AnonMe?

AnonMe is a non-consensual pornography (NCP) image board, also called a revenge porn site, which allows users to post adverts asking for information about someone specific. Personal details such as photographs, videos and even workplaces are then provided by other users on the platform, which the subjects obviously do not consent to being shared.

The requested content is then shared by anonymous users without any explanation on where it came from in the first place. Most images published are titled with the woman’s real name, and more often than not completed with an age and location too. As expected, underneath the pictures and videos shared on AnonMe, users (most probably male ones) leave insulting comments such as ‘slag’, ‘slut’ and more misogynistic slurs of the same type.

What is Anon-IB?

Originally called Anon-IB, the website was shut down in 2018 after Dutch authorities arrested three of the platform’s administrators in April 2018 and seized its server. Things had been quiet since then, but not forgotten as Reddit and 4chan users still posted about Anon-IB from time to time, asking where the new alternative could be found.

While it seems unlikely that the exact same people who ran the first site are running the new versions of it that appeared between 2019 until now, users have flocked to it regardless with many requesting content they remember from the previous original site.

What is the difference between Anon-IB and AnonMe?

As previously stated, AnonMe is nothing more than a copy of the original Anon-IB. However in this case, newer seems to implicate crueller too. According to a Motherboard article on the birth of AnonMe published in February 2020, founder of the anti-NCP advocacy group Battling Against Demeaning & Abusive Selfie Sharing (BADASS) Katelyn Bowden explained that “while Anon-IB was willing to work with groups like BADASS to take down photos when victims asked, sites sharing NCP currently will now instead move content behind a paywall when victims—including underage victims—complain.”

Of course, none of these websites can be applauded but it is clear that revenge porn and the platforms that host it are only getting worse and worse, and so is their impact.

Who runs AnonMe?

Similarly to the Fappening or Anon-IB previously, tracking the person or people behind AnonMe remains hard to achieve. First of all, the domain’s name is registered anonymously through a service in Russia that hides evidence of where the site is hosted. On top of that, AnonMe is protected by the internet security firm Cloudflare, which protects websites from malicious floods of traffic.

Surprisingly, it is not the first time Cloudflare has run into controversy. In the past, the security firm also protected sites dedicated to hateful content such as 8chan and neo-Nazi websites. Meanwhile, in 2019, Cloudfare banned a site that was meant to help sex workers stay safe, which endangered many sex workers by pushing them off internet platforms.

Long story short, the people behind AnonMe remain anonymous—for now, unfortunately. This website and the behaviour it promotes does nothing less than to encourage and promote a predatory mindset, bringing abuse and stalking along with it. While websites like this are still able to run, the people behind them run free too. Instead of making elaborate plans to stop teenagers from enjoying a bit of porn here and there, should we not focus on the source of the problems that some porn websites truly represent?