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When private photos end up online

If private photos of you have ended up online, you might feel embarrassed or afraid. There are things you can do to get the photos down and ensure that you're safe.

Sometimes private photos, videos or messages end up online. This can be embarrassing and make you feel ashamed.

It is not your fault and you've done nothing to be ashamed of. The person who breached your privacy and trust is the one who should be ashamed.

You may find it embarrassing but you should talk to someone about this for support. This is a very troubling thing to go through. You should get support and not go through it alone.

How private pictures end up online

People share pictures and videos with people they trust. Sometimes this person shares it with other people and communities.

Sometimes people such as ex-partners and ex-friends share private photos or videos to get revenge. This is known as revenge porn. Sometimes phones or computers are hacked and pictures are taken from here without you knowing.

Related topics

Cyberbullying

How to get unwanted pictures of yourself removed

You can contact the person who shared the picture of you and ask them to remove it. Get them to give you a list of people and websites they shared the picture with.

Get in contact with the website or social media platform. You can make a complaint about a picture that has been posted of you without your permission.

Take screenshots of the pictures you see of yourself posted without your consent. Keep a record of your complaints, and requests to remove the photo.

Your rights

Sharing pictures of you without consent is an invasion of your privacy. This is protected by EU law.

Report it to the Gardai. They can help you in getting the online pictures or videos removed.

Ireland has no law on cyber harassment.

If you were under 18 years old when the photos were taken

It is illegal to share pictures and videos of children under 18 years of age. Keeping pictures on phones or computers is known as possession. The person who shared it, even if sent to a friend, is called distribution. Possession and distribution by anyone of child pornography is a criminal offence.

You need to:

  • report the picture to the website and let them know the situation
  • untag (removing a tag identifying you in the picture) yourself if possible
  • contact the person who shared the image and ask them to take it down
  • get a list of everyone or every site that has shared pictures
  • if the picture is not removed report it to the Gardai
  • tell your parents about this - you may be worried about how they'll react but they will want to support you

Page last reviewed: 23/09/2018
Next review due: 23/09/2021

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