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The Nude Hunters: How Sad Forum Guys Trade Naked Snapchats Like Baseball Cards

Forum users share tips on how best to scrape messaging apps and social media for naked picture "wins."

Joseph Cox

Joseph Cox

Image: Christian Darkin/Shutterstock

The battle against revenge porn rages on. In recent months, Google and Microsoft have both taken steps to filter non-consensual pornography from their search results, and new laws around the practice have been introduced.

But legislative and cultural shifts have had no effect on certain forums, where users collect and trade images of women gleaned from messaging apps and social media. Here, users have adapted an array of tricks, strategies, and technologies to source and archive nude images en masse, both of women they know and random strangers.

"It turns into a competitive sport, where people are challenging one another to obtain naked images of a specific person, as if they're baseball cards," Carrie A. Goldberg, a Brooklyn-based lawyer who litigates internet privacy and sexual consent matters and is also a board member and volunteer attorney at Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, said in a phone interview.

One post on the notorious Anon-IB message board, a forum where anonymous users upload photos, introduces itself as "Snapchat thread." "Post snapchat wins or names you would like to see win of," it states. Here, "win" refers to nude or explicit photos, which are either dumped on the forum or traded "win for win," as one forum user put it.

Screenshot of a post on the forum

Once a Snapchat username has been posted, Anon-IB members attempt to solicit nudes or videos by messaging the woman (or sometimes girl).

The practice of enticing women to send nudes of themselves isn't new, but users appear to deploy a slew of technologies in order to better collect, archive and share their wins.

The nature of Snapchat's "ephemeral" messaging service doesn't allow the saving of pictures sent over its service, but users have come up with tricks to keep hold of "snaps."

One Anon-IB member recommends using Andyroid, an Android emulator running on a computer, along with a variety of screen capture programmes to save videos sent over Snapchat. Another suggests a rooted Android phone with the Snapprefs program installed to save received snaps. One even pitches an elaborate setup involving "HDMI-out or screensharing over wifi/usb."

Snapchat also allows photos or videos to be decorated with emojis, but one user suggested a workaround by downloading a Snapchat client called Casper. "Say someone made a video that used emojis to cover their tits, it'll save it with the emojis gone," they wrote.

Screenshot of a post on the forum

Tools are also used to scrape photos from targets' Instagram accounts en masse: members recommend socialdownloader.com and the web interface Iconosquare. They also pool techniques for making downloading photos from Google+ that much easier.

Some of the tactics shared aren't just focused on technology. For Vine, a service for sharing short looping videos, one user recommends that nude hunters "do not like, comment, or revine or you might scare them into deleting/going private." Forum members are also advised to look on the Vines of the targeted woman's friends, rather than go directly to them.

Goldberg, who maintains a list of the changes to revenge porn legislation in the US, said that because of the disparate nature of laws around non-consensual pornography, only some states would view sharing pictures of strangers like this as a problem.

"A lot of the laws that are being introduced require that there be an intent to abuse the specific victim," she said. "Which is a problem; which could exclude many of the perpetrators on Anon-IB."

In the future, this might change with the introduction of a federal bill against non-consensual pornography that would make the practice illegal all over the US. But until then, the subculture around collecting, archiving, and trading women's social media photos is sure to continue, and users will deploy whatever technologies and tactics will help them get as many "wins" as possible.