A news anchor has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Reddit, and other websites for using a picture of her taken by a convenience store security camera in ads for dating and sex products.
Karen Hepp, who works as an anchor at the stations Fox 29 News in Philadelphia, filed the lawsuit last week against Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, Giphy, the porn site XNXX, and 10 other unnamed sites, the Verge reports. According to the lawsuit, Hepp discovered a picture of herself was being posted or used in ads on these sites about two years ago. Without her consent or knowledge, the same picture was appearing on ads for erectile dysfunction medication and meetups with “single women.” It was also posted in the “MILF” tag on Imgur, and a Reddit forum for sexual photos of older women.
That’s disturbing enough, but it gets weirder: The picture wasn’t taken by Hepp or someone she knows but a security camera at a convenience store. According to the Verge, the picture contains no nudity and shows Hepp wearing a low-cut blouse under a blazer. In the filing, Hepp states that she doesn’t know what convenience store it could be, and she wasn’t aware that her picture was being taken. She also has no idea how, where, or why the picture was originally posted online.
Hepp’s lawsuit demands that the 15 sites take down all copies of her picture and pay her for the damage to her reputation as well as any profit they made off of her image. Unfortunately for Hepp, the law doesn’t seem to be on her side. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects websites from liability for users’ posts on their site, including advertisers. Unless Hepp can figure out who posted it online originally or prove that any of the sites were knowingly hosting her photo without her consent, it’s likely she won’t be able to hold anyone to account.
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H/T the Verge