How To Remove Leaked Pictures From The Internet

How To Remove Leaked Pictures From The InternetThe risk of someone leaking your private pictures is a real concern in today’s digital age. Not only is it a privacy violation, but a cause of severe emotional and reputational damage. Once your images appear online, the situation can quickly spiral out of control. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to remove leaked pictures from the internet.

What Is Leaked Content?

Leaked content refers to any information that someone releases to the public without permission. This can include any personal or professional information, but today we will focus on intimate content leaked online.

Sharing intimate images or videos has become more common in recent years. According to Avast Photo Vault, 1/3 of Americans have sent a nude photo at least once. Shockingly, nearly 3/4 of Americans who shared intimate images found that someone leaked them without their permission (NYPost).

intimate image sharing statistics

One third of Americans have sent a nude photograph of themselves at least once. Roughly 75% of those people later found that their image was shared/leaked without their consent.

Leaked pictures can come from a few different sources:

  • Voluntarily sharing images with someone you initially trusted, such as a romantic partner. This person then shares those images without your consent or knowledge to cause you distress (aka revenge porn).
  • Hacking and cyber attacks in which cybercriminals gain access to private photos. They then threaten to release these pictures unless you give them money (aka sextorsion).
  • Physical theft of your devices that contain intimate images and your device does not have a password.
  • Photos/videos you posted to adult sites like OnlyFans that a viewer illegally downloaded and reposted.

It is important to remember that image based abuse is not your fault. If you find your private images leaked, you have options to fix the situation.

What To Do If Someone Threatens To Leak Your Pictures

If someone threatens to leak your intimate photos or videos, this is likely an organized “sextorsion” attack. A romantic partner may also threaten to leak private photos as a manipulation tactic in domestic abuse cases.

Typically, the perpetrator will trick the victim into sending them an intimate picture. They also may hack into the victim’s phone or social media accounts. The perpetrator’s goal is usually to get either money or more intimate pictures.

If this is happening to you, take these steps:

  • Do not panic. Try to stay calm so you can think clearly and deal with the situation effectively.
  • Consider whether the threat is credible. Do they actually have access to your private photos, or are they just telling you that they do?
  • Do not respond to threats or negotiate with this person in any way. Engagement will only escalate the situation.
  • Take screenshots of all messages where this person threatened you. Keep note of the time, date, and platform.
  • Immediately change your online passwords and enable two-factor authentication.
  • Report the threat to the platform as well as local law enforcement. You should also tell someone you trust about the situation.
  • Have a plan prepared in the event the perpetrator does leak your pictures.

How Do You Know If Someone Leaked Your Pictures?

If you have ever shared an intimate photo with someone, you’re probably worried about a potential leak. So, how do you find out about leaked pics?

Well, according to a study from the UK Safer Internet Centre, only about 12% of victims actually find out by themselves. 31% of victims learn about leaked images from the perpetrator themselves. A further 32% of victims learn about it from someone they know, and 25% from cold messages from strangers.

how do you find your leaked pictures

Only about 12% of leaked image victims discover the images online themselves. More commonly, someone else tells them – either a stranger, someone they know, or the perpetrator themselves.

If you’re worried that someone has leaked your photos and hasn’t told you, keep reading to learn how to find them. Learn more about image removal from Google here. 

What To Do If Your Pictures Get Leaked (6 Steps)

Assess the extent of your leaked pics

First, you need to assess the extent of the damage and find what and how many of your leaked pictures exist online. Do this if either someone told you they found explicit pictures of you, or if you suspect someone leaked your pictures. Use these tips:

  • Search your name in Google incognito mode, including any nicknames or alternative spellings. Check Google images and see what comes up.
  • If you have the picture, do a reverse Google image search to find the website hosting the image.
  • Search your name on social media platforms and forum websites.
  • Keep a list of all the URLs where you find your leaked images.
  • Take screenshots of where you find your pictures, unless you were under the age of 18 in the photo.

Contact the hosting website

Next, you should contact the website hosting your images and ask them to remove them. Follow these steps:

  • Check the hosting websites for contact information or use a WHOIS lookup service.
  • Write a clear and concise request for removal. Be professional and polite, but also firm. State your rights and let them know that someone uploaded these images without your consent.
  • Include evidence that you own the pictures, such as the original files or metadata. You may also provide a form of identification. But, take out any sensitive personal information like your address or social security number.
  • If the website host does not respond after a week, send a follow-up email.
  • Escalate the situation if necessary.

Submit a takedown notice

If you took the leaked pictures or videos yourself, they are your intellectual property. So, even if you live in a state without revenge porn laws, you still have protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

revenge porn laws by state

Most states have some sort of law about recenge porn. Only four states (Massachusetts, South Carolina, Misssissippi, and Wyoming) do not have law specifically regarding revenge porn. However, if you live in one of those four states and are a victim of revenge porn, you still have other legal options.

You must submit a DMCA takedown notice with all sites hosting your leaked images. You can also file a DMCA Takedown Notice with Google itself. This removes the images from Google Search results and all Google services. You can repeat this process with other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Take legal action

When dealing with someone leaking your pictures online, legal action may be necessary for your protection. If someone threatens to or has leaked your images, contact your local law enforcement. Provide all the evidence you can to file a detailed police report.

You have rights when someone leaks your explicit images. This includes:

  • Right to privacy
  • Copyright law
  • Harassment and cyberstalking laws
  • Revenge porn laws, depending on your state

You should consider legal advice if:

  • Someone makes credible threats to leak your pictures, and you believe they have the means to do so
  • Someone has already leaked your pictures online
  • You receive persistent threats or harassment related to your leaked images
  • The leak or threat of the leak causes you significant emotional distress or financial harm

Strengthen your online security

If hackers leaked your images, now is the time to strengthen your online security. You can prevent hackers gaining access to your accounts by creating new passwords. Make sure they are strong and unique to each account. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) if possible.

Reviewing your social media privacy settings is a good idea. Set your personal profiles to private to limit who can see your posts. Be mindful about what you share online and who you share your images with.

Seek support for your mental health

Having your private images leaked online can be an extremely distressing and traumatic experience. Don’t minimize your experience by downplaying your feelings.

Instead, it’s okay to recognize the impact of this situation on your life. Reach out to trusted friends and family members for support. You can also seek out professional counseling and support groups, either online or in-person.

If you have been the victim of revenge porn or sextorsion, contact the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Crisis Helpline.

Conclusion: Recovering Your Reputation After Leaked Images

Remember, it’s not your fault that someone decided to leak your explicit pictures. But, it can still take a toll on your reputation and online presence. For security and peace of mind, you may consider reaching out for personal reputation management services.

negative content removal

 

The professionals at Reputation911 can help you remove or suppress any unwanted content about you in search results. We’ll also work with you to promote and maintain a positive online image. Contact us for a free consultation today.

About The Author

William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.

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