Can Revenge Porn Images on Social Media or Internet be Removed by Court Order?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

Facebook has deleted a private group in which its almost 7,000 boys-only members came together to allegedly share revenge porn and discuss being violent to women.

On 17 April 2020, the private group, called “Melb Guy Pals”, was shut down by Facebook for violating the community standards of the social media giant.

Not only did screenshots emerge online showing some of its members allegedly sharing sex videos and nude photos of ex-partners, members of the group were also discovered repeatedly using derogatory language to talk about women, including referring to them as “dishwashers” and allegedly calling for a “Holocaust” with females as the victims.

Meanwhile, multiple posts from members of the group – consisting of males aged predominantly between 18-30 – revolved around dialogue of one Facebook user sharing a sex tape with the troop, which he said he would do if a post of his got 200 likes.

According to screenshots seen by ABC News, the user later posted the sex video with the comment, “Alright boys this video is going up for 20 seconds, you don’t see it you lose”.

The group promoted the open description, “Talk shit about any girl you want, stays between the boys, share whatever, seed advice, sell whatever, can organise fights in this chat but keep it peaceful”.

The activity of the Melb Guy Pals group began to get noticed publicly when screenshots of messages started getting shared around and denounced by others online.

 

Facebook Now Attempting to Delete Accounts of Young Men in Charge of Melb Guy Pals Group

Since the group was taken down, members transferred to new groups on Facebook with minor variations on the original name.

A Snapchat group was also created.

Now, Facebook is endeavouring to identify the creators of the Melb Guy Pals group and delete their individual accounts.

A spokeswoman for Facebook condemned the activity and stated the company’s zero tolerance of the behaviour.

“We absolutely do not allow content that attempts to exploit, degrade or shame anyone, especially young people,” the spokeswoman said.

In response, one administrator of the group, who agreed to speak on the condition of remaining anonymous, said he “respected females completely”.

He defended the group offered a community for young men that was designed to be beneficial for their mental health.

It is believed the group was founded in reaction to a female-only group called Melb Gal Pals and the sentiment that “If they can have one so can we,” as the male page’s “About” section reads.

The majority of the posts reflect a strong sense among the men that females hold too much power in society while men are silenced.

In Victoria, sharing explicit images without the consent of the person carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

 

Domestic Violence Campaigner Weighs In on Group with Message for Misogynist Abuse

Tarang Chawla is an Indian-born Australian writer, gender equality and mental health advocate, and an ambassador for Our Watch – the national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and children in Australia.

In 2015, Mr Chawla’s sister was stabbed to death by her husband, leading to his involvement in the fight against domestic violence.

Responding to the Melb Guy Pals activities, the domestic violence advocate said the group’s discussions could not be viewed simply as “locker room banter”.

“Violence against women exists along a continuum and sexist attitudes that denigrate women enable more serious forms of sexual and physical violence to occur,” the Our Watch ambassador said.

Revenge porn, in which intimate images of a person are shared without their consent so as to humiliate or punish them, is a criminal offence.

In the past few years, across Australia, the incidence of revenge porn has more than doubled, with the problem now affecting more than one in five Australians.

Of these, many endure traumatic and distressing consequences associated with the breach of privacy, which is often devastating for the victim.

These can include immense emotional trauma, the breakdown of relationships, a damaged reputation and even destruction of their career.

For legal advice or more information on the law on this topic, contact our Sydney criminal lawyers today.

Revenge Porn Images and the Law

In NSW, it is against the law to record or distribute an intimate image without consent under section 91P and 91Q Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Click here for a more thorough outline on the penalties, defences and meaning of consent for revenge porn charges.

The penalties go up to three-years jail and $11,000 fine.

Significantly, victims of revenge porn will understandably want for their image(s) or video(s) to be taken off.

NSW Courts have the power under section 91S Crimes Act to impose an order for the offender to remove and destroy the image(s) or video(s). The penalty for failing to take reasonable steps in complying with the order carries a maximum penalty of 2-years jail or $5,500, or both.

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