BullyVille in the Press
The Revenge Game
Article by: The Ottawa Citizen
January 03, 2013

The story goes like this: Boy meets Girl. Or Boy meets Boy. Maybe Girl meets Girl. Whatever. Flirty emails ensue, followed by deliciously suggestive texts. Before long, the sexting is burning up bandwidth, carrying back and forth salacious self-portraitsdepicting naughty bits in states of undress.

But this being 2013, the story doesn’t end there. By the time Boy/Girl and Girl/Boy split up, each has a treasure trove of damning photos and texts that could ruin reputations and lives.

Enter Hunter Moore.

Never heard of him?

If you’ve got a big chip on your shoulder, a hurtin’ heart and revenge on your mind, the 26-year-old American is definitely your man.

Since 2010, his website, IsAnyoneUp.com has played host to revenge porn — images of your face and saucy pictures sent anonymously by your angry ex, along with your Facebook profile link — displayed online for all to see. He sold the website’s domain name in April, but plans to launch a new one later this month.

According to Australia’s Fairfax Media, which interviewed the media-shy provocateur in December, “Moore has used the site to further ridicule people who have tried to have their photos taken down, even going as far as publishing links to their new Facebook accounts after they changed names.”

Malicious? You bet.

But with claims that he pulls in $20,000 U.S. a month and could make $40,000 to $60,000, Moore remains belligerently unapologetic, going so far as to say in one blog that if someone committed suicide over being on his site, it would just generate more money.

And it doesn’t end there. Seemingly unable to deny the lure of the spotlight and attention, Moore appeared on the TV current affairs show, Anderson, in November 2011. When confronted by two women whose images were submitted to his website, he shot back: “No one put a gun to your head and made you take these pictures. It’s 2011; everything’s on the Internet.”

His rationale, he says, is simple. He’s just providing a public service. In fact, he’s not even really the bad guy — after all, it’s not him uploading the girlfriend porn online. He’s just the conduit.

“Most people have been hurt really bad,” he told Fairfax. “Usually, they have their heart ripped out or for whatever reason, they need a platform to get back at somebody and I’m there for them.

“I changed the game — it’s porn you can f--- with,” he added. “It’s not just objects on the screen, it’s not just random people you’re looking at; it is literally the girl-next-door or the girl at the club you just saw.”

After all, as he says, everything’s on the Internet. And it’s happening all around us.

In the shallow end of the pool, file sharing is harmless enough. Friends innocently post memes to your Facebook wall, you share them with others. Or maybe you cut and paste a really hilarious status update to share with your 500 close, personal Twitter followers. Then there’s the deep end of the pool and the murky waters therein. Whatever you post, update, tweet and blog is ultimately potential fodder to be endlessly reposted, mocked and judged, sometimes by anonymous “trolls” whose purpose it is to stir controversy. The worst of it, says American psychotherapist Cindy Miller, author of The Essential Guide to Bullying Prevention, is that the invisible veil between us and the Internet is increasingly blurred because we aren’t personally confronted with the fallout of our online actions.

As in the case of B.C. teen Amanda Todd, who committed suicide last year after being sexually exploited online and later bullied, “anything you say online or you post online never goes away. You take a friend into trust — you want someone to like you — then you post something and it’s all over,” she says. “Education is important in how we treat each other online and in not putting yourself in a socially vulnerable place.”

The other challenge is to legislators who are looking for ways to control the Internet without cramping freedom of expression. There are loopholes — in Australia, a Sydney man was sentenced to six months jail in April for publishing nude shots of his former lover on Facebook — but for the most part, “we’re learning to walk and talk at the same time,” says Vancouver’s Freddie Heartline, a social media observer and CEO of CrowdSurfing and CarSurfing.

“We are becoming ultimately answerable to each other and more socially dependent than we’ve ever been. There will definitely be changes to the law and technology. In the future, there’s a bit of information that tags every photograph and its origin, so we could use that to be more succinct in defining its identity. I think electronic tracking of data files will stop this sort of thing. But basically, you can’t be flashing your breasts if you don’t want it to show up later.”

It’s an issue being tackled head on by James McGibney, a Las Vegas-based ex-U.S. Marine and founder of the anti-bullying site, Bullyville.com, which attempted to stop Moore in April by buying his domain name. The idea, says McGibney, was to give Moore “a chance to change his ways. I thought ‘let’s make an offer and buy him out and shut him down’. We bought it at9 a.m.,” — ABC News reported|McGibney paid $15,000 — “and it was shut down at 9:02 a.m. He bulls---- me to no end that he would tweet for Bullyville and become an advocate and I thought, ‘awesome.’”

Things didn’t go that way — there were threats and accusations — and the two men are now embroiled in legal action.

“We get so comfortable behind the keyboard,” McGibney observes, “a lot of people feel invincible and think ‘no one will know who I am.’ This whole issue illustrates that no one is safe. Somehow, we have to hold people accountable.”

Yet so far, those who’ve gone after Moore and his ilk have failed. Dubbed “the most hated man on the Internet” by Rolling Stone magazine, he’s had his share of confrontations. One woman stabbed him with a pen and sent him to hospital for shoulder surgery (“I totally deserved it,” he told Fairfax), he’s been raided by the FBI and, onDec. 6, was been targeted by the loosely organized online trolling group, Anonymous, who infiltrated his site, defaced it and published his addresses, passwords, log-ins, social security number, IP addresses and service providers. In a post that included what they claimed was evidence on Twitter that he unwittingly posted an image of an underage girl — he claims to verify every age — Anonymous concluded with this warning: “We are Anonymous, we are #KnightSec, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget; Hunter Moore, it is too late to expect us.”

Ultimately, says Heartline, Moore is “just looking for a response. He reminds me of Larry Flynt, but in a different way. He’s a bottom feeder and an outlier. He’s like a problem child; stop feeding his ego and he’ll go away.”

Maybe. But not just yet.

In early December, Moore announced that, backed by investors and $150,000 in newly developed technology, he will relaunch the site as HunterMoore.TV in January.

“I don’t really give a f---, to be completely honest with you,” he told Fairfax. “I make my money and I pay my bills.”

Source: The Ottawa Citizen
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