It is a phenomenon that exploded during the first containment, and which continues to spread on the Net today. The exchanges of “nudes” (naked photos) of young girls, distributed without their consent, have grown enormously on social networks and encrypted messaging in recent months. These photos, mostly stolen, are shared with impunity via “fisha” accounts (“poster” in verlan), who broadcast them on a loop to their community. These contents, however illicit, claim hundreds of victims every day, thrown to the ground in front of thousands of Internet users.
The police have few staff to prosecute the perpetrators, and the couriers, like Telegram, are not very responsive. To fight against this phenomenon of “revenge porn”, a collective called Stop Fisha was then created in March 2020 in order to track down accounts that post photos of naked young girls. “During the first confinement, hundreds of fisha accounts were created in France. After Snapchat, the holders of these accounts migrated to Telegram where moderation is almost non-existent, ”explains the association created by a group of students, who have already managed to close more than 850 accounts, and helped nearly 1,000 victims of cyber harassment.
The “fisha” accounts, “genuine sexual exploitation network”
It is therefore mainly on Telegram encrypted messaging that this content is shared, within discussion chains that sometimes bring together thousands of members. Accounts on which men, for the most part, engage in a “hunt for nudes on the Internet and then exchange them with each other, not always for free. “The largest group listed on Telegram brought together nearly 233,000 members and broadcast intimate content from young girls, mostly minors, almost daily,” reveals the collective. “In general, the trashier the content published, the more the account is followed. It even happens that access to certain accounts is monetized”.
When activists manage to identify one of these accounts, their only weapon is to warn in real time Pharos, the official portal dedicated to reporting illegal content on the Internetor else to report the account directly on the platform concerned (Telegram, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) “In general, the fact of making group reports, it pays off”, explain these new to pull out a manual Fight cybersexism* in which they sound the alarm. “The fisha accounts constitute a veritable network of sexual exploitation, which endangers hundreds of people every day. We have to put an end to it, ”claims the collective.
“Complaints are very rare today”
Unfortunately, the authors of these accounts do not content themselves with disseminating stolen photos and videos of a sexual nature. “The images are often accompanied by identifying information about the young girls, so that the latter are also made cyberharcelerand are sometimes even victims of physical attacks”, explained a few months ago To 20 Minutes Hind Ayadi, community activist in Garges-lès-Gonesse (Val-d’Oise), one of the first to have denounced this phenomenon. “Beyond being a real slut-shaming of mass, these accounts constitute a real danger for the victims, and can lead to suicide “, adds the collective Stop Fisha.
Despite the explosion of these acts of cybercrime, complaints are very rare today. “Young girls are invaded by a feeling of shame and are confronted with the fear of talking about it to an adult. Very often, they are unaware that the distribution of their photos without their consent is an offence”, deplores Justine Atlan, director of the e-Enfance association, which manages the anonymous and free platform to help victims of harassment Net Ecoute (3018). However, it is essential to report this content and, if necessary, to file a complaint. “Disseminating sexual content without consent is an offense punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 60,000 euros”, recalls on social networks Eg Eric Moraina lawyer specializing in cyberbullying.
*Fight cybersexism, by Hajar Outaik, Hana Outaik, Juliette Bories, Léa Reynaud, Laura Pereira Diogo, Lisa Gauvin Drillaud, Maeva Janvier, Sabrina Haouari, Shanley Clémot Maclaren and Rachel-Flore Pardo, published by Leduc.