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Someone Is Trying to Revive the Infamous Revenge Porn Site Anon-IB

Over 1,500 unique posters have uploaded or commented on images from the site, many requesting content they remember from the original site.

by Joe Uchill
Feb 14 2020, 1:39pm

Image: Getty Images

Someone is trying to revive one of the most notorious non-consensual pornography (NCP) image boards, two years after police shuttered the original site.

The new site takes the name and appearance of Anon-IB, the most infamous image board marketed exclusively for what is often colloquially called revenge porn, said Katelyn Bowden, founder of the anti-NCP advocacy group Battling Against Demeaning & Abusive Selfie Sharing (BADASS), and was “ground zero” for the 2014 release of hacked celebrity nude photographs Reddit dubbed “The Fappening.” Motherboard is not sharing the names or the URLs of several NCP sites mentioned in this story as not to draw more eyes to those sites.

Dutch authorities arrested three administrators from Anon-IB in April 2018, seizing its server. Since then the site had been quiet, but not forgotten. “We still see 4chan threads saying ‘Does anybody know where I can find Anon-IB,’” said Bowden. “There's still Reddit posts of people asking, ‘What is the best alternative now that it's gone?’”

But three weeks ago, BADASS began tracking discussions of the site returning.

While it’s unlikely the same people who ran the first site are running the new one, users have flocked to it. In just three weeks, over 1,500 unique posters have uploaded or commented on images on the new site, many requesting content they remember from the original site.

The site claims to have archives from 2018 and 2019—after the original Anon-IB was shuttered, but the images in those archives appear to be taken from another site.

Even though Anon-IB has only been offline for two years, the sites sharing NCP online have gotten considerably crueler, said Bowden. While Anon-IB was willing to work with groups like BADASS to take down photos when victims asked, the most popular network of sites sharing NCP currently will now instead move content behind a paywall when victims—including underage victims, per Bowden—complain. That group of sites has never achieved the same popularity as Anon-IB.

Anon-IB may have been more responsive, but it was far from noble. The site did not strictly moderate its policy not to post contact information for victims. “They allowed their users to bypass those rules by putting a period in the middle of somebody's last name or saying ‘Alicia S. rhymes with myth,’” said Bowden.

BADASS originally rose to prominence by flooding the board with unique images of Shrek to drown out the images of victims.

It’s tough to track who runs the new site. The domain name is registered anonymously through a service in a country not friendly to U.S. requests for information and the site’s internet address—evidence of where the site is hosted—is hidden by the internet security firm Cloudflare, which protects websites from malicious floods of traffic.

Cloudflare told Motherboard it will forward image takedown requests to the site’s owner. If the site refuses to comply, it suggests taking the issue up with the domain registrar.

“Other services are better positioned to assist with content removal,” said Alissa Starzak, director of policy at Cloudflare.

Cloudflare has run into controversy in the past protecting sites dedicated to hateful or harmful content—including neo-Nazi sites and 8chan—but booting after public outcry. Conversely, last year it banned a site that was meant to help sex workers stay safe because of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which endangered many sex workers by pushing them off internet platforms.

But even if anonymity didn’t protect the site, global jurisdictional issues might.

“Ultimately, if the site is really from [a country that doesn’t cooperate with the U.S.], it can be difficult for a nicely stamped order from a judge in Nebraska to help,” said Honza Cervenka, an attorney for McAllister Olivarius in Britain who often represents victims of non-consensual image abuse.

Tagged:
revenge porn
non-consensual pornography
Anon-IB
NCP