As “revenge porn” sites grow in popularity, women who say they’ve been exploited are starting to fight back.In Texas, at least 23 women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Texxxan.com and its hosting company GoDaddy, claiming the X-rated site violated their privacy when it allowed users to post naked pictures of them without their consent, BetaBeat reported Monday.
“Revenge porn” sites allow users, often women’s ex-boyfriends, to post naked pictures of women without their permission. The sites also often post personal information about women next to their images.
“I live in an extremely small town and the website was flooded with people that I knew,” Hollie Toups, one woman to wind up on Texxxan.com, told BetaBeat. “Those of us on there go to the grocery store and everybody recognises you. Not everybody says something, but you get a lot of like, ‘Hey, do I know you?’ or, ‘I recognise you from somewhere.’ But then you also get people that will just come out and say it.”
Texxxan.com published a disclaimer on the site, warning users not to assume “anything you send or post is going to remain private. There’s no changing ur mind in cyberspace-anything u send or post will nvr truly go away.”
When Toups tried to get her picture removed from the site, she said Texxxan.com administrations “said they would be happy to remove the pictures for me if I would enter my credit card information,” she told BetaBeat.
Toups was the first to join the class-action suit, which was filed last Friday in Texas state court.
Texxxan.com, much like the notorious “revenge porn” site HunterMoore.TV, has claimed it is protected by federal law.
Texxxan.com urges disgruntled people to read Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which it says protects websites with user-submitted content.
University of Maryland law school professor Danielle Citron told The Wall Street Journal federal law offers broad protections to sites that publish sexy pictures if the images were taken by people not affiliated with the site.
“I wish we had more robust legal protection,” Citron told the Journal.
But there is hope for those who feel they’ve been victimized.
A ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could torpedo any legal arguments from “revenge porn” sites.
When Roommates.com was sued in 2003 over claims it was discriminatory, the Ninth Circuit ruled the site wasn’t protected under the Communications Decency Act because it was “inducing third parties to express illegal preferences.”
Texxxan.com didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment. GoDaddy said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
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