In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Is there such a thing as Twitter Porn?

It’s no secret that the internet is ground zero for adult films and pictures. In fact, only within the past few years has social media surpassed porn sites as the most popular internet pages for most visitors to spend time on. The popularity of social media, however, has not entirely usurped internet pornography; rather, the two are increasingly becoming one and the same.

|SEE ALSO: Understanding How Does Twitter Work|

Twitter porn has become the newest sensation among those looking for nudity and adult content online, as users flock to the social media site in order to get everything; from leaked celebrity pictures to shared images of girlfriends. The growth in the development and distribution of pornography through social media platforms like Twitter not only poses a threat for those who are using the site for searches, but also for those who may inadvertently find pictures or videos of themselves uploaded onto the internet. And, to be honest, it’s not just porn that poses a threat. This article on Wired.com talks more about Twitter abuse and how the company is handling it.

So, what should you and your family know about Twitter porn?

From Humble Origins

Porn on Twitter can fall under several categories. The most well-known but less common is that of actual pornographic websites, actors or distributors who set up official Twitter accounts and disseminate information or even pictures online. While these accounts are popular, they actually put far less pornographic material onto Twitter than do amateurs or users who don’t tweet with the actual intend of promoting porn.

For most, nudity on Twitter comes from individuals who want to highlight a person’s body positively (as a shared picture they willingly send out to others) or negatively (an act to expose and humiliate a person that they have a grudge against). Some of the nudes are collected, sometimes without the users’ knowledge, to be stored or even sold to others. Sometimes it is also used aggressively in order to humiliate or even blackmail an individual with the threat of posting their naked pictures online for the world to see. This act is known as revenge porn and is becoming a major problem in online safety and security, potentially affecting anyone who has pictures of themselves on their computer or telephone.

Revenge Porn

It is a sad commentary on both the website creators and the website followers that pages offering nude pictures or videos of individuals who have not given their consent have become increasingly popular in web searches. Those who take to Google to find such sites use search categories like “revenge on girlfriend” in order to satisfy their desire to see the humiliation of women subject to the distribution of a video without their consent. Twitter serves as an engine for revenge photos and videos of an adult nature by promoting and sharing new content whenever the site creator has updates.

While many states and countries are enacting laws that clamp down on this Twitter trend, it’s not difficult for a content creator to mask their location using a custom internet protocol that makes them appear to be outside the law’s jurisdiction. As such, the efforts to shut down revenge pornography have been met with only a little success. Recently however, Twitter acted against revenge porn and online harassment, and you can read about this in our article here.

Teenager Porn on Twitter

According to this publication on Statista.com, no demographic in the USA uses social media with the same frequency and duration as teenagers and young adults. This means that the prime target audience for much of the porn Twitter has to offer is for those who are 18 years of age or younger. Sometimes this porn features teenagers in itself, posting videos or pictures of themselves voluntarily. These posts may be to show off to friends or to “promote” a new relationship, and often end in disaster.

Even if you are underage, posting nude pictures of underage persons on Twitter constitutes distribution of child pornography, which is a felony charge that results in years of imprisonment and status as a sex offender that will follow a person all their life. This legal aspect of Twitter nudity has negatively affected countless young people who tried to post nude selfies or pictures of their partner on the web without realizing the consequences of their actions.

Twitter Porn Videos

One of the most popular features of Twitter is the ability to outlink a video from other sites like YouTube or Vine in order to share it across your network of followers. Vine has gained huge popularity among the young social media crowd due to the short lengths of the videos – usually ten seconds or less – that cater to those who don’t have the patience or interest to sit down and watch a longer clip.

A typical Twitter porn video does not necessarily have to be a 30-minute shot of nudes or sex acts; it can be a simple five or ten second shot of a person taking off their clothes and posing for the shot. These short-duration videos have proven to be so popular that it’s possible to use Twitter ad-ons to search for short videos with certain hashtags, like “nudity” or “pornography” or “teenager” and see thousands upon thousands of ten-second clips of people naked or in sexual acts. The shortness of these clips does not change their legality (or lack thereof): they still can constitute child pornography or invasion of privacy.

Rights of Revenge Victims

Twitter has long been a forum for activity, and with the new quantities of revenge film and revenge picture pornography available, it’s become a network for those who are trying to get revenge pornography sites taken down from the internet. Revenge porn survivors have become active in the Twitter community to get others to participate in everything from sending repeated emails and phone calls to lawmakers to shut down sites to directly contacting the site administrators themselves. This article on Mashable.com tells the story of one victim and also explains how to help when someone uses intimate photos as revenge.

These efforts to shut down revenge porn sites distributed through Twitter have been somewhat successful: while large-scale revenge sites like IsAnyoneUp.com have been censored or even taken down altogether, smaller-scale sites with only a handful of photos and videos still remain popular on the internet. The task at hand now is to find the distributors of revenge porn and get them to comply with laws restricting the distribution of revenge pornography, as well as get legislatures to outlaw site hosting of revenge porn, rather than just distribution of the material.

Celebrity Nude Pictures

A hugely popular (but still completely illegal) aspect of Twitter porn has been the number of images of naked celebrities distributed through tweets. Pictures of famous actresses in nude selfies have grown to almost mythical status on the internet, with some sites promising pictures in the headlines and others creating ads that re-direct users away from another porn site in order to find the celeb nudes.

Hacking remains the most common method of gaining access to images of celeb nudes, as hacking a smart phone or tablet that belongs to a celebrity can be no more difficult than guessing a password that could be their pet’s name or their hometown. These hacks have resulted in some calling for greater security on the part of the cell phone creators or the internet passwords, but the reality is that a hack is only as strong as the safeguards against it. While an average person is at far less risk than a celebrity to have their smartphone hacked, there are safeguards against hacking that can greatly minimize the chances of having pictures (naked or otherwise) stolen and posted on the internet.

Anti-Hacking

The focal point of nearly all hacking comes in at the password. Despite the fact that it may be the only protection against e-theft, most passwords remain quite simple. In fact, the most common password is still “password”, which provides no protection whatsoever against someone looking to steal your information — odds are good it’s the first one they’ll try! Read our article here for Tips to Improve Online Security.

Making a strong password is fairly easy: simply put in a string of letters (that are not a word, or not a word in the English language) with a string of numbers (that are not significant, i.e. not a birthdate or an address) and a character like $ or %. That password is nearly impossible to hack, since it cannot be guessed and it would take literally thousands of years for a brute-force mechanism to go through the possible combinations and land on the correct sequence. Those who are concerned about hacking on Twitter, furthermore, can change their names or their passwords in order to avoid the threat. It’s never recommended to respond to Twitter messages from someone you do not know, especially if they are asking about sensitive material such as nude photos and videos.

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