Exposed

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(Megan Cooke/AQ)

Make sure there are no kids in the room if you Google anonib.com.

The bottom of the search page will say, “Suspected child abuse content has been removed from this page.” If you’re brave enough to click on the first link, your screen will be infested with pictures of naked girls and disturbing videos.

Fredericton resident Meghan Miller had a photo of herself posted on the website without her permission.

“When I saw my picture on the site for the first time, I felt very uncomfortable and kind of violated. I had no idea that websites like that existed,” said Miller.

AnonIB is an Internet image sharing board. But you won’t see kittens or grandma’s recipes here. More like an amateur porn site. Users of AnonIB post pictures of girls, often nude, semi-nude or engaging in sexual activity. They are uploaded into categories, depending on looks and location.

People who use the site are prompted to follow a few rules. No full names, initials only.

“Any wins of Meghan M.?” said the uploader of Miller’s picture. A win means a nude photo.

Users often ask to trade photos despite it being against the rules.

Miller was lucky. The photo that appeared on the site was one of her Facebook profile pictures. She’s wearing a sea-foam green dress and holding a red solo cup.

“I have no idea who could have posted it there. It could be someone I have on Facebook or someone I have never met. It could also possibly be a girl that just doesn’t like me and is trying to get back at me by posting my picture on a site like that,” she said.

A petition was started on change.org to shut down anonib.com for child pornography and endangering women.

“Most of the girls who become exposed by the men on these threads are 15-18 years old. How do I know? My city has a thread. I have female friends that are pictured on there, and I’m working to get them off of it,” said petition organizer Alex Edwards.

Edwards said websites like these are used for sexual extortion. Anonymous users blackmail girls into sending them more pictures to “prevent” any further spread of their photos.

The AnonIB petition is intended for the FBI. It has reached more than 9,000 signatures.

Unlike Miller’s profile picture, many photos on the site were never intended for an audience. They are personal photos, sent to boyfriends or lovers that end up online.

“People should not be able to anonymously post pictures and videos that can’t be removed for everyone to see. It could be humiliating for so many girls,” said Miller.

It can also have serious consequences for men. One young man, who wishes to remain anonymous, had a video of himself seen by his entire high school.

“It’s unfortunate. High school was supposed to be a lot of fun, but it was not, at all.”

In Grade 11, he sent a video of himself masturbating to a girl he was talking to. The video was intended for only that girl.

Soon, it seemed like every person he knew had seen it. The harassment started by texting. Numbers he didn’t recognize were messaging back to him back with the video. During his last years of high school, he kept to a small circle of friends.

“There was a span of two or three years where I didn’t wanna tell people who I was,” he said. “It was more the social aspect of being embarrassed about being me in public.”

Now 20, he no longer thinks about that time and says the subject is rarely brought up.

“It shaped my personality a lot and the way I see people and the way I treat people … so I guess in a way I should thank the girl but at the same time she should go to hell,” he said.

He thinks people send naked photos is for attention. He said girls with low self-esteem and insecurities tend to take naked photos the most. People with more confidence find better ways to get attention.

“Don’t do it … unless your 100 per cent okay with the consequence’s that come with it.”

When asked how many girls requested to have their photos taken off through email, AnonIB said, “If you want to save them, I will sell the site to you.”

They did not respond to follow-up emails.

On Feb. 24, AnonIB was “shut down for maintenance.” It is not active at this time, and the boards are not accessible.

This statement was posted on the website’s only page.

“Apology to the girls who were posted on site against their will and especially those that had to donate to have their pictures removed. It’s a warning to those that abuse others online. There are forces that work to track and expose them, and those forces WILL win in the end. There are plenty of girls and boys, women and men, who willingly want to be naked on the Internet so post their pictures instead. Matija – Anonib.com team.”

An administrator from the Facebook group “AnonIB, Unlawful, Unmoral” said the site has been shut down by the FBI and that all databases have been erased.

This statement could not be verified.

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