Teen Girl Unearths Melbourne Revenge Porn Facebook Group, and it’s Not the Only One

News. Posted 1 year ago

Catalogue Staff

Revenge3Image: Akio Takemoto via Flickr / Creative Commons. Image source.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report this week, several teenage girls have been left traumatised by a revenge-porn network aimed at ‘teaching’ them a lesson. The report details how Fairfax Media was given “a harrowing cache of illegal images and videos from a Facebook group called Melbourne’s Men’s Society.” And that many of these images appeared to be of under-age women. Melbourne Men’s Society is a hidden group on Facebook, which people cannot apply to join — instead, its administrators select members based on recommendations for induction. Facebook shut down the group on Friday, but not before it had the chance to garner 7000 members, with another 4500 awaiting approval. And what’s more, this group is said to be only an imitator compared with another network known as Melbourne Blokes Trade; one that has reportedly been operating for some time now.

One 18-year-old girl, Cat reportedly snuck into Melbourne’s secret network of revenge porn Facebook pages and said “they are teaching girls a lesson for, I don’t know, for sending them the images”. Another 18-year-old, Jess Treloar-Walker actually had nude photos of her posted on the Melbourne’s Men’s Society page. One of the images, she said, showed an online conversation between her and a supposed friend. “He posted it in the group,” Jess explained. “He was promoting me as some sort of toy. He said if you give me money I can get you in with her.” According to The Sydney Morning Herald, these pages are secure and hard to access. They “exist to share naked images and videos of Melbourne girls, some under-age, without their consent.”

According to the report, the three administrators of Melbourne’s Men’s Society all attended St Peters College in Cranbourne, a co-educational Catholic school; which is likely where they met. One of the administrators, Kailum Newland told Fairfax over email that he had not posted any of the images himself, and that the group had got out of hand. “Our intention of the group was to build a brotherly bond in Melbourne! Not to create an under-age pornography folder for a bunch of 15-18 year old males,” he wrote. “In some cases I feel bad but you have to understand at least half of these girls have sent pictures to guys asking them to post it, I have no idea why, you’d have to ask them!” But just before Melbourne’s Men’s Society was shut down, Newland also posted: “Everyone asking, police have shut us down, we will be back! ‪#‎standbymms ‪#‎fkmgp”. And, sure enough, The Sydney Morning Herald says that members immediately set up a dozen or more replacement groups, highlighting the difficulty of stamping out networks that can move and morph with ease.

Interestingly, Buzzfeed is said to have uncovered a post on the Melbourne’s Men’s Society page, which showed that Facebook looked at the group and “found it did not violate our Community Standards”. But a Facebook spokesperson has since denied Buzzfeed’s claims. “We have removed this group, and have taken steps to help stop similar groups reforming, and help prevent this abhorrent activity,” the spokesperson said. But while Facebook has now investigated the content on Melbourne Blokes Trade’s page — since being alerted by Fairfax — they ruled that it wasn’t breaching any of its community guidelines. According to media and gender expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne, the root of this issue is that male sexual behaviour is treated quite differently to female sexual behaviour. “Men and women are both in [revenge porn] videos, but it only functions as revenge [against] women, because we are a culture that judges a woman’s sexual activity in ways we don’t judge a man’s,” she said. Rosewarne has likened pages like Melbourne’s Men’s Society Facebook page as homage to the male ego, fuelled by a dangerous pack mentality. And, although this particular page has fortunately now been shut down, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg. There are likely many more pages out there just like it — including Melbourne Bloke’s Trade — which continue to flourish unmonitored.

Via The Sydney Morning Herald

Saddened by this news? Read up on the history of revenge porn:

1) The History of Revenge Porn

2) Revenge Porn is Finally Illegal in the UK

3) Revenge Porn Jerk Hunter Moore Will Go to Jail, World Rejoices

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