Revenge Porn Moves to Slack

In its continuing move from websites such as Anon-IB, revenge porn has shifted not only onto Discord, but now Slack as well.

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Mar 8 2018, 7:36pm

Image: Shutterstock

Revenge porn is spreading. The latest service to be co-opted: Slack, according to activists and Slack chat rooms uncovered by Motherboard.

The news highlights how groups that trade non-consensual imagery on open websites such as Anon-IB are increasingly moving to more closed-off platforms. And with that comes a renewed challenge for online services to curb abuse on their products, as various states and countries seek legislation punishing revenge porn sharers.

“I have identified a large portion of people I know personally on Slack,” Rachel, victim outreach at anti-revenge porn activism group Badass, told Motherboard in an email. Rachel asked that her full name not be used.

On Thursday Motherboard joined two Slack workspaces—the company’s term for enterprise-wide chat rooms—which exclusively trade revenge porn, one with around 100 members, and the second with 50. Slack allows users to create free workspaces with more limited features. Rachel said she first saw Slack invite links on Anon-IB, including one related to her local high school; one of the threads contained approximately 71 different victims, she added.

“Quit hoarding and dump,” a user in one workspace focused on a UK city wrote on Wednesday, asking others to post images.

“If anyone wants these vids message me,” another user wrote while sharing a picture of a young woman.

One of the workspace’s Motherboard entered included a stream of explicit images, seemingly of women the users knew personally: several users identified the women by name, or made requests for pictures of other people. The second workspace had a ‘vetting’ process, where users only received access to the nude images after sharing one from their own collection.

“Soooo can someone verify me? I have wins,” one user wrote, with ‘wins’ meaning explicit images or videos.

The use of Slack for revenge porn seemingly started recently after another chat service, Discord, clamped down on offending users. Chat logs in one of the workspaces stretched back to February.

“What we generally see is they migrate to a Discord server, but with all the crackdowns happening there, what we saw this week was that they were running to Slack,” Kelsey Bressler, a second member of Badass, told Motherboard in an email.

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Indeed, in one of the Slack workspaces Motherboard accessed, one user wrote “today’s goal is make discord look like a bitch post up.”

“Honestly I don’t know whose genius idea it was to use Discord in the first place. Their privacy policy is worse than facebooks,” another Slack user wrote back in mid-February.

On Thursday Slack removed two revenge porn focused workspaces after Motherboard provided links to them.

But, perhaps because this is a new issue for Slack, the company has not dealt directly with complaints and enquiries from both Rachel and Bressler this week. Bressler contacted the company to ask about its revenge porn policy, and how to report incidents; she did not receive a response, and when she followed up, was told she could email the feedback address.

“Their support people should know exactly what to do in instances like this. If I was a victim approaching them for help with this, their lack of responsiveness would have left me feeling helpless,” Bressler added. “Slack is becoming increasingly popular and with that, it will continue to be used in this manner.”

Rachel said “After a good bit of digging and reviewing their policies I found no way to simply report anything in the threads, so I did the only thing I know that works to gain website’s attentions which is to submit DMCA violations,” referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which revenge porn victims sometimes use to remove their images from websites. Rachel says she identified three victims and sent DMCA removal requests to Slack’s legal email address.

“I have not heard back from them since Tuesday. I understand that these processes can take time, but with it being a professional app for the workplace, I expected a prompt response,” she added.

A Slack spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement that "Any use of the Slack platform for harmful or illegal activities violates our Terms of Service and will not be tolerated. Slack will act immediately to remove such content when it is flagged for us. We encourage users to report offending content or activities to feedback@slack.com.”