A new challenge has taken the world and India by its surprise. Yes, we are talking about the “Couple challenge” which asks couples to post photos with their partners online! While some may find if funny and humorous there are many who are skeptical of sharing their photos. It’s not that they don’t find it challenging enough or boring, but because they fear the possibility of misuse of their photos.
It’s no wonder that different state police forces have urged citizens to be cautious while sharing photos with their partners for the “couples challenge”, as the images can be misused. The historical experience suggests that the seemingly “cute” challenge can go the wrong way if not cautious enough. However, several married couples have posted their photographs on Facebook and other social media since then.
The possibility of misuse includes using morphed or cropped photos on “obscene websites” by criminal elements for deriving seditious pleasure to revenge and rivalry. A new added possibility is use of images for deep-fakes which are very difficult to detect. The threats are not exaggerated but very real as discussed in subsequent paragraphs. Several people especially girls, have already suffered harassment as their photographs and personal information were misused.
Let’s discuss some possibilities and instances of misuse of photos for greater clarity.
Once personal images are uploaded on social media platforms, cyber criminals and opportunists can simply misuse them in the form of identity theft. An example is using the images to create fake profiles on various platforms. Subsequently, they may share inappropriate content, or try to project the person in wrong light to defame him/ her. In fact, in some cases inappropriate contents were written about the girls. While in others, the photos were altered to add nude body of someone else along with the photo of the girl.
Even worse, many adult websites use random photos of girls picked up from social networking websites to promote their illegal business, by using captions like “these girls are available”. In reality, the victim has no idea of misuse of their photos on adult websites. And, by the time, they come to know of the misuse, catastrophic damage to reputation and fame may have been caused.
Criminals engaged in adult business, constantly hover and scan social media websites, to find photos of females which can potentially be used to promote their business. For example, several sites display the photo of girls along-with their phone numbers. The photos are the ones extracted from social media sites, while numbers lead clients to their illegitimate businesses.
Basic Precautions to Follow:
Here are some of the basic precautions that one must keep in mind.
Real Life Instances of Misuse:
Here are some real life stories of girls who suffered untold agony and misery because of misuse of their online photographs.
A North Delhi girl suffered from fake profile posted on Facebook that described the teenager as “sex teacher” and also contained morphed photographs as well as her personal contact number. The girl started receiving multiple calls, seeking sexual favors. The father of the girl later lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police for offence of identity theft, impersonation and indecent representation of women. The fake profile was soon taken down and accused was identified, who turned out to be her jilted lover.
An air-hostess had moved to court alleging that someone had opened an account in her name on various social media platforms, wherein she had been described as “sex deprived girl”. The family had harrowing time, as the girl suffered from immense mental trauma and depression. The air-hostess claimed that the fake profile had lowered her reputation in the eyes of her family members and acquaintances.
The couple challenge is trending again and several couples are happily sharing photos with their loved ones on various social media platforms. This is because many social media users follow latest trends and post personal information online without giving a second thought to the repercussions. Though social media provides space to express one’s emotions and thoughts, it might prove disastrous if you post sensitive personal details for everyone to see. Therefore, you should think twice before you post a picture with your partner.