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The FTC Ordered IsAnyBodyDown's Craig Brittain to Never Start a Revenge Porn Site Again

The infamous revenge porn website has been replaced by a kinda-apology from Brittain.

A computer, which could hypothetically be used for revenge porn. Photo via Flickr user Ryan

Craig Brittain apparently considers himself a moral crusader of sorts. His Twitter bio, for example, reads: "Good to bad and back to good. Redemption." And his old revenge porn site, IsAnybodyDown?, which has been out of operation since last year, now offers a longwinded kinda-apology. And a new mission statement.

Instead of posting nude photos of women alongside their contact information as it once did, IsAnybodyDown? now consists solely of a manifesto that claims, variously, that revenge porn is a media invention, that his site had a body-positive message, and that he has a new purpose in life.

"Iclosed the website down in 2013 because I was personally conflicted (moral concerns and the fact that 99 percent of the time I hated running the thing), and I wanted to use my skills to do something which I consider to be productive and positive in society, and that is why I contributed to GamerGate," he wrote. "I want diversity and ethical media, NOT 'revenge porn.'"

But regardless of what Brittain wants people to believe (and going from revenge porn to Gamergate is probably not the brightest PR move), he's responding to the Federal Trade Commission, which issued an order yesterday that forbids him from ever making a revenge porn site again.

It's the latest development in the war over websites devoted to sexually shaming and humiliating people—the vast majority of whom are women. The FBI indicted revenge porn pioneer Hunter Moore last January (the charges were technically related to hacking), the police arrested a California man for posting nude photos of his ex in December, and there's currently a legal battle in Arizona concerning laws that treat artistic photos as revenge porn.

This case is notable because it's the first time the FTC has stepped in. The federal agency is claiming Brittain made $12,000 from his site using deceptive—and really fucked up—tactics.

According to the FTC, Brittain would pose as a woman on Craigslist and solicit other women for nudes, which he would then post on the site. He would then advertise a removal service to them called "Takedown Lawyer," which he also owned.

But a separate accusation, which is even more disturbing, was not addressed by the FTC: In 2013, one woman told the Observer that she believed the site had hired a man whose job it was "to court women and coax them into sending him naked photos" and that she had fallen victim to that scammer.

Of course this claim is unsubstantiated, but according to the FTC, it wouldn't be totally out of character for Brittain. They say his was even worse than your run-of-the-mill revenge porn site.

"Was Brittain's the only site of its kind?" FTC attorney Lesley Fair wrote in a post. "No, but like any business trying to distinguish itself from the competition, he touted his site's unique selling point—in this case, what he characterized as a 'higher level of hatred.'"

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.