"Revenge porn" is naked photos of people posted on the internet alongside personal information about them, like their phone numbers and Facebook profiles. There has been no higher-profile revenge porn profiteer than Hunter Moore, who ran the now-defunct website "Is Anyone Up." In this interview from 2011, Moore talks to Bob about his site and his lack of ethics.
BOB GARFIELD: Two years ago, I interviewed Hunter Moore, the notorious creator of isanyoneup.com, infamous for posting nude photos submitted anonymously by angry exes. He has called himself “a professional life ruiner,” through what's come to be known as revenge porn. A recent story in Jezebel offers case studies of his victims. There’s Tory, whose shirtless pictures from a doctor's visit surfaced on the site, and Cathy, whose face was Photoshopped on somebody else's naked body, who changed her name, quit her job and moved to a new town, for fear that she would lose custody of her children. There’s Kayla Laws, whose story we’ll hear in a moment, and there's some new information about how Hunter Moore was finally chased off the Internet.
But first, we’ll replay some of my interview with Moore. It’s important to remember that in addition to the photos, Moore's site also included a link to the naked person's social networking profiles. He told me that the social networking component was a big part of his site’s appeal.
[12/2/11 OTM CLIPS]
HUNTER MOORE: I mean, you could post pictures of, you know, random boobs and penises all day but just adding that social network to it just puts it to a whole ‘nother level.
BOB GARFIELD: A whole other level of reality, of -
HUNTER MOORE: Exactly.
BOB GARFIELD: And of shame, right?
HUNTER MOORE: Exactly, yeah.
BOB GARFIELD: Tell me about the shame factor. People, obviously, are not thrilled, for the most part, to find out that they’re the stars of your website, on any given day. How do they react?
HUNTER MOORE: We get a ton of removal requests, obviously, but I hardly ever get any from any of the males that are on the site. It's always from the girls. Usually they just freak out and they do whatever they can to get it off the site.
BOB GARFIELD: You know, it's not fair to – for me to characterize you as strictly being in the shaming business –
- because you're equally in the ridiculing business.
HUNTER MOORE: Mm-hmm.
BOB GARFIELD: People send you shots and if you don't deem them attractive enough, it's - open season, right?
HUNTER MOORE: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's what people want to see, and I give it to ‘em.
BOB GARFIELD: Now, what you're doing isn’t illegal. What's, what is the underlying statute that protects you from legal action?
HUNTER MOORE: A lot of people call it a loophole but, you know, there’s the Decency Act of, you know, ‘96 that protects me, you know, just from users submitting anonymously. Even if I do edit it, it still protects me because it was submitted anonymously by another reader or user.
BOB GARFIELD: That's the Communications Decency Act of ’96, right?
HUNTER MOORE: Yeah, yeah.
BOB GARFIELD: Section 230.
HUNTER MOORE: Yeah. And then also with the copyright issue, you know, a lot of people are sending me DMCA requests and –
BOB GARFIELD: They say, I own this photo, you have no right to display it, please take it down.
HUNTER MOORE: Yes, but when you take a picture of yourself in the mirror, it was intended for somebody else so, actually, the person you sent the picture to actually owns that picture, because it was intended as a gift. So whatever the - that person does with the picture, you don’t even own the nude picture of yourself anymore. But when you go to my site and you fill out the contract - I don't want any of the copyrights or anything - you actually take full responsibility for any content that's submitted. So that’s how I’m protected.
BOB GARFIELD: Yeah. Congratulations on that.
Now, we've discussed that the people whose photos wind up on your website –
HUNTER MOORE: Mm-hmm –
BOB GARFIELD: - are, in varying degrees, shamed, appalled, horrified, shattered.
BOB GARFIELD: Has there been any individual victim who you’ve just felt sorry for, to the point that you were moved to take something down and, and, you know, even, oh, I don't know, apologize for the embarrassment that she's undergone, or he?
HUNTER MOORE: I mean, that’s happened a million times, I’d say. I felt really bad about a lot of things. I, I don't just do the postings, so sometimes stuff goes up and, you know, I’ll see it later on and I’ll feel bad, or I’ll be reading a removal request and I’ll feel really bad. I've had points where I’ve felt so bad, I’ve - wanted to stop the site, [LAUGHS] to be honest with you.
BOB GARFIELD: And what stopped you from stopping?
HUNTER MOORE: Um, it’s just too much fun. I get paid money to sit in front of my computer and look at all my peers naked. So, it's pretty awesome.
BOB GARFIELD: If you got nude photos of your sister or your mom, would you post ‘em?
BOB GARFIELD: No, of course, not. Why would I post pictures of my sister or my mom?
BOB GARFIELD: Well, why wouldn't you?
HUNTER MOORE: Well, would, would you want to see your mom naked? That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, that’s – why would I post pictures [LAUGHS] of my family naked?
I thank God it’s my site. I mean, I wouldn’t – why would I post pictures of my sister? That’s crazy.
BOB GARFIELD: Yikes!
HUNTER MOORE: Yeah.
BOB GARFIELD: Hunter, we're done.
HUNTER MOORE: [LAUGHS] All right. Thank you.
BOB GARFIELD: Thank you for speaking to us.
HUNTER MOORE: All right, cool. Thanks for having me.
BOB GARFIELD: Hunter Moore is the creator of the now-defunct website isanyoneup.com.