In 2014, parenting blogger Meg Ireland shared personal pregnancy photos in a social media community for mothers.
The 25-year-old was introduced to the darker side of social media when her pregnancy photos were taken and posted on a “preggophilia” website, a porn site for “people who like pregnant ladies.”
The blogger from Sydney known as “Shut Up Meg” has since blogged about her experience in an effort to spread awareness of the websites and persuade people to be cautious about what they post online.
“That time my growing belly went viral in a negative way.” This bump picture, along with around 15 other images of mine, ended up on a website for “preggophilia,” Ms. Ireland wrote on her Facebook page on Monday.
All I can do right now is gasp and hope they don’t end up in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have them after seeing so many people share images of their growing bellies.
We shouldn’t have to worry about strangers taking our pictures, but it happens frequently!
Ms. Ireland revealed the horrendous things she witnessed while navigating the god awful site in search of the thread.
“People who were uploading pictures of their coworkers, brother-in-laws uploading pictures of their sisters-in-law, and people who were sharing pictures of their wives with other individuals!” I literally couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, the shocked blogger exclaimed.
“How could I possibly be accountable for this?” It was entirely my responsibility, they would say, and I should only blame myself for posting “personal images” (even though my profile was then private).
“I view things differently. The fact that someone had screenshotted my photo to show someone didn’t matter to me; it was what they did with my photo or photos that gave me actual anxiety.”
Then, Ms. Ireland questioned why individuals should be forced to “sit and worry” when posting photos to social media.
Please be cautious about who you follow or add. Block them if they seem to be a creepy MF, she said.
According to Ms. Ireland, who spoke to the Daily Mail Australia, the pictures were taken from an online mother’s group and she first saw them six to eight months ago.
One of the ladies in the group, Ms. Ireland claimed, “was a fraud, and she used my photo to encourage other women to submit images of their bellies so they could take them and put them on these bizarre sites.”
I emailed the website after searching through the horrifying information to attempt to find it. After I threatened legal action, they removed it.
All I’m trying to do is spread the word and let people know that there are those who prey on pregnant women online.
There have been several comments on Ms. Ireland’s experience, some of which have cautioned moms against sharing photographs and others of which have sided with the blogger.
It’s a lovely photograph, but what a disgrace that sick people would do that to other people’s pictures!
“Is this even possible? What on earth is going on, people? ‘ Preggophilia?’
Some others claimed that Ms. Ireland’s suffering was merely an accidental result of sharing photos.
“You girls are going to upload images like these for all 1,000 of your friends and non-friends to see, so be prepared for that. What do you anticipate? Keep private photos private, period,” wrote a woman.
When will people understand that sharing a photo on social media does not grant you ownership of it? What gives you the right to be upset about the outcome? Honestly!’ Another person agreed.
Although Ms. Ireland is aware that such incidents do occur, she only wants to help those who might not be aware of these websites.
I understand that people will say things like, “That’s what she gets for sharing photographs,” even if I’m not 80, and I agree… but everybody can experience this,” said Ms. Ireland.
“People’s brothers and husbands were distributing these photos; anyone walking down the street could be the victim,” one person said.