Tumblr Has a Creepshots Problem


Reddit’s “Creepshots” subreddit and most of its conspicuous imitators were banned months ago. But men who get off on non-consensual sexual activity can easily post photos of unsuspecting women on Tumblr. A typical caption on Creepshots.tumblr.com reads “Buying a coffee…begging for cock.” What’s Tumblr’s official stance on Creepshots?

The Creepshots Tumblr, an offshoot of Creepshots.com, has been active since April 2011. Its bio explains it all:

“What is a ‘CreepShot’ you ask? Easy. Creepshots are CANDID pictures. If a person is posing or aware that a picture is being taken, then it is no longer a creepshot. A true creepshot captures the natural sexy, embarrassing or funny aspect of the subject mater/person without their knowledge. “

“Take a look at the world around you,” the Tumblr urges. “There are creeportunities everywhere: durring your commute, shopping, coffee shops, office, sporting events or just even walking down the street!”

Gym-goers in workout gear and jean-clad shoppers — obviously asking for it while on exercise equipment and perusing the drugstore’s gift card selection — factor prominently. Surprise, surprise: all of the photos are of women. Some are in bikinis, others in sweats. It doesn’t matter; they’re all worthy prey by virtue of not knowing they’re being preyed upon. “She’s not asking for it,” one caption reads. “She’s begging for it.”

The guidelines say Creepshots of people under 18 are strictly forbidden, but there’s clearly no stringent vetting process. That was r/Creepshots’ Achilles’ heel; the subreddit spurred national outrage and was eventually banned after a high school substitute teacher posted photos of his teenage students, which is not only creepy but illegal. Some Tumblr users hope to use the same strategy to take the Creepshots Tumblr down, too.

Tumblr user The Fempire reported Creepshots.tumblr.com for abuse last night and cc’ed us on the email. “Besides the concerns of privacy and dignity of women is the legal ratification of having sexually titillating pictures of potentially underage girls on the Tumblr domain,” she wrote. “Though the website states that no pictures of underaged girls should be submitted, there is simply no way to ensure that none of the pictures taken covertly do not feature a child.”

She also linked to other Tumblrs (examples here and here) to illustrate that the community at large felt upset and uncomfortable about the site. “It’s not about sex – they have porn, they have as much fucking porn as they could possibly ask for,” The Rogue Feminist wrote. “they want to violate, they want to rape, they want to own every woman walking down the fucking street.”

Reddit higher-ups told Jezebel (in so many words) last October that tracking down sexual predators via r/Creepshots imitators wasn’t as much of a priority for them as free speech and user privacy. But Tumblr is famously proactive about making its community a safe space. Tumblr’s community policy guidelines include harsh words on everything from “Non-Genuine Social Gesture Schemes” to “Impersonation, Stalking, or Harassment.” Last February, Tumblr banned blogs that promote self-harm. “We are deeply committed to supporting and defending our users’ freedom of speech,” read a statement, “but we do draw some limits.”

“Some” being the operative word. When we asked about the Creepshots Tumblr, Katherine Barna, Head of Communications at Tumblr, told Jezebel in an email that the company doesn’t comment on individual Tumblr accounts, which are “required to abide by our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.”

Last fall, Tumblr quickly deleted Predditors, a Tumblr that “outed” the public information of Creepshots posters, because moderators thought it revealed private information. It seems that Tumblr doesn’t think the non-consenting women — and possibly girls — on the Creepshots Tumblr should expect or deserve the same right to privacy.

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