Journalist Sues Facebook, Reddit, Others After She Finds a Photo of Herself in an Erectile Dysfunction Ad
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Imagine you're scrolling through cute photos of your best friend's children and some political opinions on Facebook when you stumble upon a photo of yourself. Normal, right?
Well, in this scenario your photo is being used in an ad promising meetups with "single women."
This is what happened to Philadelphia Fox 29 news anchor Karen Hepp 2 years ago.
Over the next months, Hepp realized her photo, a photo taken by a security camera in a convenience store, wasn't just on Facebook.
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Her photo was on Facebook, a sexually-explicit part of Reddit, the porn website XNXX, and an erectile dysfunction ad from an unnamed website. In total, Hepp's photo was allegedly used on over a dozen sites (mostly for sexual reasons).
So, she did the only thing she thought reasonable: she filed a lawsuit.
The lawsuit names Facebook, Giphy, Imgur, Reddit and XNXX, among other companies.
Hepp doesn't know how the security camera photo of herself ended up online, or how it got picked up under the "MILF" tag on Imgur or a Reddit forum that sexualizes older women.
But, her case raises new questions about privacy laws in an age where revenge porn is rampant. It also may raise new questions about Section 230 of the Communications Act (the section that essentially states websites are not at all responsible for what individual users post on them).
Her lawsuit is asking for all of the websites to take down her photo and for an undisclosed amount of reparations over $10 million.