How To Find Out If Your Nude Photos Are Online — & Remove Them

Photo: AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Some people say the only way to stop online harassment is to stop going online. Well, we aren't going anywhere. Reclaim Your Domain is Refinery29's campaign to make the internet (and the world outside of it) a safer space for everyone — especially women.
Celebrity hackings that result in the sharing of nude or intimate photos online are becoming a disturbing norm. In the past two weeks alone, Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried, and Demi Lovato were all targeted.
While a breach of a celebrity's privacy is newsworthy, the stars are far from alone. A 2016 report from the Data & Society Research Institute found that 4% of internet users, or one in 25 people, in the U.S. have been victims.
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According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, revenge porn, or, more accurately, nonconsensual pornography, can be defined as the "the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent." It includes photos that have been stolen through a hack, as well as those sent within the privacy of a relationship.
If you're concerned that your own nude or private photos have been shared online, there's a way to find out — and steps you should take to remove them. You can search your name on Google and see what shows up, but a reverse image search within Google Image is a more precise way of looking for an image.
Go to Google Images and click the camera icon in the search bar to "search by image."
From here, you'll be able to paste the URL to an image or upload an image. The latter, of course, requires you to have the nude photo you're looking for in your camera roll or on your computer.
If you do find said nude or private photo in search results, you should document the photo immediately by taking screenshots of the full webpage where it is posted and the image search. You will need these to report the photo to Google, which you can do by filling out this form. When asked about the type of content you want removed, choose "a picture of myself." You can also call the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative's crisis helpline at 844-878-2274 to speak to a counsellor.
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Curious about what laws your state has in place against revenge porn? Head here for state-by-state information.
If you want to ensure that your private photos and videos stay protected on your phone moving forward, download the Keep Safe Photo Vault app. The PIN protected accounts will keep any images you add on lockdown, and also include a Safe Send tool that lets you share photos for a specified length of time.
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