What to Do If Someone Is Threatening to Share Your Intimate Photos or Videos on Facebook Featured Image

What to Do If Someone Is Threatening to Share Your Intimate Photos or Videos on Facebook

“Someone is threatening to post a video of me on Facebook!” is a common phrase we hear from panicked clients who contact our firm. Usually, these images, videos, and other media are of a sensitive or intimate nature.

Are you being threatened with image-based abuse on Facebook? I understand how scary and violating it feels to have your privacy invaded. This is not your fault. You are not alone, and you have legal rights. As an experienced internet attorney who has handled many sextortion cases, I’m here to guide you through protecting yourself and fighting back against your abuser. Let’s walk through this step-by-step and get you the justice and peace of mind you deserve. Take a deep breath – we’ve got this under control.

What Is Image-Based Abuse?

Image-based abuse, also known as “revenge porn” or “sextortion”, is the non-consensual sharing or threat to share intimate images or videos of someone. This includes content that is sexual in nature, shows nudity or partial nudity, or violates religious/cultural norms around modesty. Examples include:

  • Nude or sexually explicit photos and videos
  • Fakes or “deep fakes” that have been digitally manipulated to appear intimate
  • Screenshots of private video chats or sexting conversations
  • Upskirt photos or videos
  • Images that reveal parts of the body normally covered by religious or cultural garments

It’s important to understand that the threat to share intimate content is abusive and illegal in itself, even if the content hasn’t actually been shared yet. Abusers often use these threats as a form of blackmail to extort money, coerce more intimate content, or exert power and control over their victims. You do not have to give in to their demands.

Document Everything

The first critical step is to document all evidence of the threats and any intimate content that has been shared. This creates a record of the abuse that will be vital for reporting to the authorities and online platforms, bringing a legal case, and getting the content removed. Here’s what to do:

  • Screenshot all messages, posts, and other communications that contain threats to share intimate content
  • Save copies of the actual intimate images/videos if they’ve been sent to you
  • Record URLs, account names/handles, email addresses, phone numbers – any identifying info about the abuser
  • Note key dates, times, and which online platforms were used to make threats or share content
  • If the content has already been posted online, document the URL, date discovered, and screenshot of the post in place

Keep all documentation in a secure folder on your computer or phone. Consider backing it up to a cloud storage account or external drive in case the original device is damaged. I know gathering this evidence can be emotionally taxing, but you’re doing great. This is an empowering step that will help you build a strong case and take back control. Remember, the shame and blame belong only to your abuser, not you.

Report and Remove

Now that you’ve got your evidence gathered, it’s time to report this abusive behavior to the relevant authorities and platforms. I’ll walk you through how to notify:

  • Facebook
  • Law enforcement
  • Other government agencies

First, let’s go over reporting to Facebook.

Reporting to Facebook

Facebook takes a strong stance against sextortion and image-based abuse. They’ve created clear, user-friendly tools to report this behavior and get abusive content removed. Here are the key steps:

  1. Go to the profile, Page, group, or post containing the abusive content or threat.
  2. Click the three dots in the top right corner and select “Give feedback or report this profile/Page/group/post”
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to report the content as “Nudity/Sexual Activity” or “Harassment”
  4. Submit your report and any additional evidence through Facebook’s Support Inbox

If the content or threat occurred in a private message, open the message and click the gear icon in the top right corner. Select “Report” and follow the prompts to file a report for “Harassment.”

Facebook will review your report and determine whether the content violates their Community Standards. If so, they will remove the post and may disable the abuser’s account. However, reporting to law enforcement is still important, as Facebook reporting alone will not result in criminal action.

Reporting to Law Enforcement

Image-based abuse and sextortion are serious crimes. I strongly encourage you to report threats to share intimate content to your local police department. You can contact the non-emergency line to file a report or visit the station in person. Bring the evidence you’ve documented so far.

If you are under 18, you can also report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST or online at report.cybertip.org. NCMEC works closely with law enforcement to investigate crimes against minors.

When talking to law enforcement, be clear that you are the victim of image-based abuse, sextortion, or nonconsensual pornography (if the content has been shared). Provide them with copies of all communications containing threats and any intimate content the abuser has shared or is threatening to share.

Push for them to launch an investigation. Many states now have specific laws criminalizing revenge porn and sextortion. A police report creates an official record of the crime and may deter the abuser from following through on threats or escalating their behavior.

Additional Government Resources

If you’re located in Australia, you can report image-based abuse to the eSafety Commissioner, a government agency dedicated to keeping citizens safe online. They offer support services and can help get intimate content removed from the internet.

In the U.S., contact your state Attorney General’s office. Many have units that specifically handle cyber exploitation crimes like nonconsensual pornography. They can discuss your legal options beyond criminal charges, like civil lawsuits or restraining orders.

Understand Your Legal Rights

What your abuser is doing is not just cruel – it’s illegal. You have the law on your side. Here’s an overview of relevant laws and legal actions you can take:

  • 46 states and D.C. have revenge porn laws banning nonconsensual distribution of nude/sexual images
  • Penalties range from misdemeanors to felonies, with jail time up to 10 years and fines up to $10,000 depending on state
  • You may be able to sue your abuser in civil court for damages related to emotional distress, damaged reputation, etc.
  • If you are being blackmailed or extorted, additional criminal charges apply with enhanced penalties
  • You can petition for a restraining order requiring your abuser to cease contact and not share any intimate content

I’m happy to analyze the specifics of your situation in a confidential consultation and advise you on your best legal options for holding your abuser accountable. You may be entitled to significant compensation.

Additional Victim Resources

Be kind to yourself during this traumatic time. Prioritize your emotional well-being as you take action to address the abuse. Know that healing is possible. Here are some additional resources and tips to support you:

Adjust your social media privacy settings to maximum. Block the abuser on all accounts and platforms. Consider temporarily deactivating or going private on social media let trusted friends and family know what’s happening so they can support you and be on alert for any shared content. You don’t have to weather this alone.

If you are in physical danger, do not hesitate to call 911. No threat should be taken lightly.

You Did Nothing Wrong: This Is on the Abuser

I want to end by reiterating that this is not your fault. You are not alone. Nothing you did caused or justifies your abuser’s actions.

Sharing intimate content of someone without their consent is abusive, illegal, and reprehensible. The shame and responsibility lie squarely on the perpetrator. There is nothing wrong with taking intimate photos or videos within a consenting relationship.

Your abuser is the one who chose to weaponize that content to violate your trust, privacy, and sense of safety. They are the only ones who should feel ashamed.

No matter what your relationship is or was with your abuser, you deserve to be treated with respect. What they are doing is not a reflection of your worth. You matter, and you have the right to privacy, safety, and dignity both on and offline.

At Minc Law, we believe you, we’re here for you, and we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and hold your abuser accountable. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a free, confidential consultation with me or another experienced attorney on our team. Together we will get through this and get you justice.

You’ve got this – and we’ve got your back.

Contact Minc Law

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