Anon Ib: Two years after police took down the original site, someone attempted to resurrect one of the most prominent non-consensual pornography (NCP) image boards.
According to Katelyn Bowden, founder of the anti-NCP advocacy group Battling Against Demeaning & Abusive Selfie Sharing (BADASS), the new site takes the name and appearance of Anon-IB, the most infamous image board marketed exclusively for what is often colloquially called revenge porn, and was “ground zero” for the 2014 release of hacked celebrity nude photographs Reddit dubbed “The Fappening.”
To avoid drawing additional attention to the NCP sites mentioned in this storey, Motherboard is not revealing the names or URLs of those sites.
In April 2018, Dutch authorities detained three Anon-IB admins and seized the website’s server. Since then, the site has remained quiet, but it has not been forgotten. “We’re still seeing 4chan postings asking if anyone knows where I can find Anon-IB,” Bowden said. “People are still asking on Reddit, ‘What is the greatest alternative now that it’s gone?'”
Anon Ib BADASS began tracking comments about the site reopening three weeks ago
Users have flocked to the new site, which is unlikely to be run by the same folks who ran the first. Over 1,500 unique posters have uploaded or commented on photographs on the new site in just three weeks, with many requesting content from the old site.
The site claims to include archives from 2018 and 2019, which is after the original Anon-IB was shut down, although the photographs in those archives appear to be from another site.
Even though Anon-IB has just been defunct for two years, Bowden claims that the sites that share NCP online have become far more nasty. While Anon-IB was ready to collaborate with organisations like BADASS to remove photographs when victims requested it, the most popular network of sites sharing NCP is now moving content behind a paywall when victims—including minors, according to Bowden—complain. That set of websites has never had the same level of success as Anon-IB.
Although Anon-IB was more responsive, it was far from noble. The site’s policy of not publishing victims’ contact information was not fully enforced. “By placing a period in the middle of someone’s last name or saying ‘Alicia S. rhymes with myth,’ they allowed their users to get around those regulations,” Bowden explained.
BADASS first gained notoriety by saturating the message board with distinct photographs of Shrek in order to drown out the images of victims.
It’s difficult to figure out who runs the new website. The domain name is registered anonymously through a service in a country that does not welcome requests for information from the United States, and the site’s internet address—evidence of where it is hosted—is hidden by the internet security firm Cloudflare, which protects websites from malicious traffic floods.
Image takedown requests will be forwarded to the site’s owner, according to Cloudflare. If the site refuses to cooperate, the site recommends contacting the domain registrar.
“Other providers are better positioned to assist with content removal,” Cloudflare’s director of policy Alissa Starzak said.
Cloudflare has been criticised in the past for protecting sites with offensive or destructive content, such as neo-Nazi sites and 8chan, but then removing them after public protest. In contrast, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which endangered many sex workers by forcing them off online platforms, blocked a site that was supposed to help them stay safe.
Even if anonymity didn’t keep the site safe, international jurisdictional difficulties might.
“Ultimately, if the site is truly from [a country that doesn’t cooperate with the US], a nicely stamped order from a judge in Nebraska can be difficult to help,” said Honza Cervenka, a lawyer for McAllister Olivarius in the United Kingdom who frequently represents victims of non-consensual image abuse.