Some of your Facebook friends might be copying your photos and uploading them onto Reddit without you knowing anything about it.
Reddit, the popular content aggregator, has a sub-reddit thread, or an open forum created by users, called Facebook Cleavage, that encourages its 16,932 subscribers to scour their newsfeeds for any pictures of attractive women, and upload them onto the website.
The thread’s name is misleading because you don’t just have to post a cleavage shot – it can be a woman’s entire bikini-clad body, her bum, or any part of her that looks “sexy”. It has only five rules:
1) “Find sexy pictures of your hot Facebook friends…
2) Doesn’t have to be cleavage. Any sexy pic will do.
3) Don’t post pics that don’t come from Facebook. You will be banned
4) Only post people of age. Underage posts will be removed. And user banned. Report underage posts to the mods.
5) Please don’t mention real names.”
The rules don’t begin to cover just how inappropriate this really is. In some ways, ‘Facebook Cleavage’ is no worse than millions of other websites showing scantily-clad women, but the main problem here is that these women have no idea their private pictures have been uploaded onto the thread.
How would you feel if you had uploaded a holiday snap of you and your friends in bikinis, only to find it posted onto the subreddit, with leery comments posted beneath it? Or if pictures of you at a family wedding were uploaded onto the thread, because an old Facebook friend had taken it upon himself to show the world that hint of your cleavage?
It is terrifying to think that pictures we post on social media sites like Facebook – where you can control your privacy settings so only your friends see your photos – could be taken and uploaded onto these websites without our consent.
Some users don’t just upload one picture of a girl either – they can upload hundreds. If I came across this Reddit thread and found even 10 pictures of me in a bikini that one of my friends might have uploaded years ago, I’d feel utterly sickened and borderline terrified.
They may not be allowed to explicitly use your name, but most of the time it is relatively easy to find their Facebook profiles by searching for the picture on Google. It could encourage sustained harassment, but either way – it is an incredible invasion of privacy.
Even when the rules are abided with, it is still incredibly sleazy. When it comes to the age limit, one user has posted a picture with the headline: “She just turned 18 last month…” It suggests that the uploader, ‘athrowawayg’, was waiting eagerly to be able to upload that picture.
Another message reads: “Amber has a great rack” (let’s hope that’s not a real name), while a picture advertising the American spring break season (so lots of girls will be in bikinis on holiday) is accompanied with the phrase: “It’s that time of year, gentlemen. Happy hunting.”
Excuse me, “happy hunting?!” Women are not objects to be hunted, especially when they are just uploading personal pictures onto Facebook – most of which seem to be holiday snaps, selfies, or pictures of them in dresses with friends.
It is disgustingly sexist, but it is also a shocking breach of privacy. Some of the messages are too rude to print here, but a less explicit one reads: “What would you do to her?” Imagine hundreds of similar comments across the thread, but with lots more expletives.
At the time of writing this article, Reddit hadn’t responded, but Facebook said users were legally entitled to use those photographs as they had been made publically available. However, it still goes against the spirit of Facebook’s terms and conditions. It is one thing to post scantily clad images of women with their consent, but it is another thing entirely to do it without their knowledge, by taking advantage of a Facebook friendship which is built on mutual trsut.
So until conversation threads like these are shut down, ladies – beware. We shouldn’t have to live in a world where you can’t post a summer holiday snap, but until you can be 100 per cent sure that none of your Facebook friends would ever upload one of those pictures onto ‘Facebook Cleavage’, maybe this summer should be a photo-free zone. I, for one, am never going to be pictured in anything less than a high-cut top and long-sleeved trousers again. Seriously. Are you with me?
By Radhika Sanghani