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Some Puerto Vallarta Grindr users find themselves as the target of defamatory Twitter attacks, often with major consequences for those involved, such as losing their jobs. A local recommends reporting them immediately.
*Names of people interviewed for this story have been changed in order to keep their identity safe.
It’s been some time since Out & About PV has been aware of the existence of several Puerto Vallarta Twitter accounts dedicated to the distribution of non-consensual nudity pictures, presumably obtained from users of the LGBTQ encounters and dating app Grindr, exposing local people and making them subject to unfair criticism by their sex role preferences, physical appearance, job, social category, among other aspects. Usually, the discourse of these accounts is charged by humor and statements looking to discredit those who are exposed.
Some of these tweets have had major consequences for those involved. A local source told Out&About PV that one of his friends lost his job after being illegally listed on one of them. “In the middle of the pandemic, with not enough jobs or income as it is, and someone has too much time on their hands and is obviously doing it in spite of the gay community. I encourage everyone to report these profiles.” To do so, you can log into your Twitter account, search the illegal profile, and click on the options button displayed at the top of the page. You will be requested to mark what’s the problem with the account and a few tweets that show this misuse. At the end of this process, you can also block the profile.
One of the accounts noticed by Out & About PV is DiscretPV, which has more than 3 K followers and was opened in February 2019. This user shares screenshots of photos and chats from Grindr, explicit and non-explicit pictures, as well as videos followed by gossip stories and rumors about those involved.
This account has outstanding interaction by followers since its posts can reach 50 likes and nearly 20 comments. Moreover, it appears that the administrator nourishes his content with contributions from other local users who get in touch with him by private message. This was suggested on a tweet dated 2nd July 2020.
Another similar profile, Grindrospv2, has 1,071 followers to date. Before, this user had an account named Grindrospv and, apparently, this was shut down for violating the Twitter policies; this is why the administrator opened another profile. A tweet dating from June 20, 2020, says “We are back, if you want more content, send your contributions by DM. Photos, gossip, everything you want to post.”
We managed to find more active accounts that share non-consensual nudity pictures, such as: Gay & bisexuales Puerto Vallarta (2,625 followers) y pto vallarta (3473 followers).
How is this possible?
It is no secret: Twitter is the porn mecca within the social media word. This platform allows the distribution of multimedia, adult content as long as it has the consent of the people involved and the accounts that share these posts mark them as “sensitive” from their safety settings. By doing so, they provide users with a warning legend before seeing this type of content. Sounds like a good idea, right? Especially in confinement and social distancing times, when many of us would like to enjoy this material for free, safely and without causing any kind of damage to other individuals.
It seems that with these policies, Twitter has taken the place of Tumblr, another social media that used to allow pornography but banned it in December 2018. According to Business Insider, after this happened, traffic on their website and app downloads have drastically dropped. Clearly, there’s a whole lot of people accessing this content every day.
For this reason, Twitter has established rules to regulate it, including the Non-consensual nudity policy, published in November 2019, which reads as follows: “You may not post or share intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent.” Sometimes referred to as Revenge Pornography, it includes the following situations, featured on the Twitter Help Center website:
- hidden camera content featuring nudity, partial nudity, and/or sexual acts;
- creepshots or upskirts – images or videos taken of people’s buttocks, up an individual’s skirt/dress or other clothes that allows people to see the person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts;
- images or videos that superimpose or otherwise digitally manipulate an individual’s face onto another person’s nude body;
- images or videos that are taken in an intimate setting and not intended for public distribution; and
- offering a bounty or financial reward in exchange for intimate images or videos.
However, the truth is that in practice it is difficult to monitor this activity.
Puerto Vallarta users exposed
Antonio (36 years old), a local Twitter user, first noticed these accounts thanks to some of the people he followed, who reacted to the publications. “I realized that they would post pictures from Grindr profiles and they would assign them a specific number. I saw some acquaintances exposed and I did not hesitate to warn them,” he says. Shortly after, Antonio was subject to the same kind of post by the currently deleted account PackBahiaGrinder, in which his Grindr profile picture was showcased along with a photo of a penis. “That was the first time and happened by May 2020. It kind of amused me because the explicit picture was not mine. I don’t share that kind of images because I consider it’s a very sensitive material. In fact, I cleared this situation with the administrator and he asked me if I would be willing to send him real photos of my dick.”
Later, another account under the name of GrindosPV posted pictures of him along with the legend “Dudosamente delgado” (Suspiciously thin), suggesting he had some type of disease. “This really bothered me, I decided to report the account and later I noticed that it had been shut down.”
Antonio has not only been a victim of defamation through Twitter. More than a year ago, he began to realize that fake Grindr profiles were using pictures of him to promote threesome encounters. “Back then, I had just ended an open relationship with one person and I started dating someone else. I warned my acquaintances on Facebook that someone was using my photos and defaming me on those Grindr accounts. It was a very long process, in which there was also harassment via phone calls towards my new partner. Finally and thanks to a call record, I realized that my ex-partner was behind this. When he learned that if I started a reporting process, Grindr could provide me with the IP address of the user that was creating all those false profiles, he calmed down”, he says.
Antonio shares that many people in his social circle ended up knowing about this, including the Twitter activity, but only one person alerted him.
“I think it is important not to judge a person for their sexual life. I have always thought that as long as it is consensual and involves two adults, everything is fine. People can enjoy and explore their sexuality in the way they want. And I think that this type of Twitter accounts and misuse of dating apps generate the opposite, they normalize judgment ”.
Rubén (29 years old), was alerted by friends that DiscretPV had posted some pictures of him. “It was nothing explicit, just normal pictures. And that’s probably why I didn’t give it much importance. Within the post, there was speculation about my role preferences and they mentioned my career. What really impressed me was the number of likes and comments from users asking for more photos, the vast majority from the anonymity. And it was also a surprise to see other posts from people that I know or have seen in Vallarta, being exposed in a very nasty way,” he says.
Both Antonio and Rubén claim to have noticed that these accounts interact with each other. They have many of the same followers. “There is a local community that enjoys seeing and promotes this material. I think we should be careful when sharing nudes. We never know in which hands they can end up,” Rubén concludes.
Fun or morbid curiosity?
“I know these accounts and, although I do not follow them because I know that many acquaintances would notice, I frequently log in on Twitter to see their content. It may sound strange but it is a way to learn who is part of the LGBT community in Vallarta and to know a little about their life and their past in order to see what kind of people it would be inconvenient to get along with. It’s a combination of morbid curiosity and entertainment,” says Raúl (32 years old).
For his part, Javier (27 years old) explains: “As a local Twitter user it is very easy to run into these profiles. In my case, it was because a friend shared or commented on a post. When I went to see the content, I saw that there were many acquaintances and friends of my friends exposed, and of course, I warned them but I never considered reporting the account, not even for a second. The truth is that we love to gossip.”
Javier shares that he has noticed two types of accounts on Twitter that feature explicit adult content involving local people: those that only post pictures of someone and assign them a number, and those that upload this material along with descriptions that make fun of them or aim to discredit them. “I think it’s definitely not right to expose you and talk about you in that way. Especially because your family or friends can find out and it can turn out in a very difficult and painful situation for everyone. They are violating your privacy and posting content without consent. However, I must also say that I have some acquaintances who make a profit from pornography and for them, it’s something beneficial. Far from being a drawback, they get free advertising.”
Who is behind these accounts?
Antonio and Rubén agree when commenting that far from being people close to them, they believe that administrators of these accounts are more likely members of the LGBT community with enough time to dedicate to vain hobbies.
“To me, this is something mediocre. It is surely people who have a lot of free time and also a lot of insecurities, no confidence in themselves. That’s why they need to discredit others so they can feel better,” Antonio says. For his part, Javier thinks that “it’s probably people who tried to date a person on Grindr or in life and had no success. “This could be a matter of revenge,” he concludes.