A Nevada federal court permanently shut down the revenge porn site MyEx.com and ordered the operators to pay more than $2 million in an action brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Nevada attorney general (AG).
In January, the regulators charged the site and related individuals with violating federal and state laws by posting intimate pictures of people and their personal information without consent, as well as charging takedown fees to have the items removed.
MyEx.com was solely dedicated to revenge porn, the FTC and AG alleged, and published pictures, videos and information including names, addresses, employers and social media account information. The site also encouraged users to “Add Your Ex” and “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex.”
Visitors to the site could add comments on the videos and pictures and rate the individuals involved. The defendants suggested that titles and narratives be included with the posts and provided users with a selection of categorical tags such as “Cheater,” “Slut” and “Bad in Bed,” according to the complaint.
As of December 2017, there were approximately 12,620 entries on the site, the regulators said.
To have information or images removed, the defendants charged fees ranging from $499 to $2,800. Individuals who were featured on the site suffered real harm, the FTC and AG told the court, including lost jobs, threats and harassment, and the financial burden of having the information removed.
The federal court ordered that the site be permanently shut down, that the images and personal information be destroyed, and that the defendants pay more than $2 million in damages. The defendants are also banned from posting intimate images and personal information of others on a website without the subjects’ notice and consent.
To read the complaint and final order in FTC v. EMP Media Inc., click here.
Why it matters: “We are gratified that the court ordered this site shut down for good,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “The defendants in this case harmed individuals by publishing their intimate images, and then victimized them again by trying to extort money to take the information down.”