Non-consensual Explicit Imagery

Definition: Distribution of sexual imagery without the authorization of the person depicted.
Legal Status:
Illegal in some jurisdictions
Platform ToS:
Violates Policy
Victim Visibility:
Contextually Sensitive
TSPA Abuse Type:
Violent and Criminal Behavior: Sexual Exploitation

Non-consensual explicit imagery (NCEI), formerly (and mistakenly) termed "revenge porn," involves the sharing of intimate images or videos without the depicted person's consent. The shift away from the older moniker emphasizes that the root of the issue isn't solely spiteful ex-partners seeking retaliation but a comprises a serious violation of privacy and consent. NCEI is a persistent challenge for platforms that permit explicit content: distinguishing between consensual and non-consensual material is not possible from content alone. Additionally, sexual content that may have been consensually recorded can be later shared consensually, further challenging an already fraught dilemma.

While the vast majority of platforms prohibit NCEI in their Terms of Service, a few nefarious sites are explicitly designed for this kind of content. The ambiguity in determining this from content alone leads many platforms that ostensibly prohibit NCEI to inadvertently host it alongside consensual content.

Yet, the omnipresence of the internet means once something is uploaded, eradicating it entirely becomes nearly impossible.

Platforms have extremely limited means by which to address hosting NCEI today, though legal regimes, cross platform collaboration, and better reporting mechanisms may offer some hope for moving toward robust takedowns. Instead, the role platforms can play most effectively is to make sure they aren't actively promoting or enabling the discovery of NCEI. Web searches for "<Person Name>" should really only return pornography if <Person Name> is clearly a publicly explicit figure on the internet. NCEI websites can be easily added to deny-lists for platforms to prevent users from sharing links to or distributing links to their content. Approaches like these might seem low stakes, but for a user whose privacy is violated, they can make a world of difference in how they are perceived and able to represent themselves in the world.

What features facilitate Non-consensual Explicit Imagery?

Locating and ranking content to be responsive to a user's query.
File/Link Sharing
The capacity of one user to publish or share files or links with other users.

How can platform design prevent Non-consensual Explicit Imagery?

Label/Detect Identical Content
For some features, duplicate data suggests misuse.
Media Provenance
Record and display the chain of custody and original source for media.
Is something missing, or could it be better?