Australian Study Finds High Rates of Non-Consensual Photo Sharing

A recent study on ‘image based abuse’ in Australia shows just how big a problem this has become. RMIT and Monash University surveyed almost 4,300 people and found that one in five (20 percent) said they’d had sexual images or video taken without their consent. Of these, 11 percent reported the material had been shared, while 9 percent had experienced threats that it would be.

The findings were higher than any of the researchers had anticipated, yet Dr Anastasia Powell of RMIT believes the true ‘rate of victimisation’ is probably even higher. Many of the respondents who said non-consensual images had been taken may be unaware that these pictures have been shared if they are posted on a site dedicated specifically to sharing pornography. According to Powell, “there’s a hidden dimension that you just can’t capture with a survey.”

The popular term used to describe the non-consensual sharing of explicit images is revenge porn. However, this refers more specifically to material posted after a couple splits up. In some cases, these pictures may have originally been taken consensually, but they are later published with the intent to humiliate the ex-lover. Powell and other researchers opted for the term ‘image-based abuse’ as a more accurate way to describe the broad scope of the problem. Some perpetrators are motivated by revenge, while others have complex reasons for wanting to control or intimidate the victim. Sexual gratification, social status and monetary considerations can all play a role. At Reputation Defender, we assist with the removal of compromising images and video and help victims create better content, but it can be very hard to rebuild a reputation after this type of abuse.

Victims Face Many Challenges

The study found that the majority of perpetrators were male (fifty-four percent), while victims were equally likely to be female or male. The rates were highest for teenagers aged 16-19 and slightly elevated for people in their twenties. The LGBTQ community was more likely to be victimised, as well as other marginalised groups including Indigenous people and anyone with a disability. Women were more likely to be threatened by someone they knew personally (such as an ex-partner) than men.

Researchers found victims were about twice as likely to report experiencing high levels of psychological stress compared to people who had never experienced this type of abuse. For many victims, it was a form of sexual violation that threatened their autonomy and dignity.

The findings correspond with instances of image based abuse around the world. Victims face severe reputation damage which can have long-term repercussions on almost every aspect of their lives. The public images can make it difficult to hold a job, build a career, or form long term relationships. They leave individuals struggling with self-esteem and wondering how far the perpetrator will go. In a recent case of revenge porn involving a US marine, the victim said she wanted to “stop living in fear.” Over time the stress can have extremely negative consequences. An Italian girl committed suicide in September 2016 after a long battle to remove a non-consensual sex tape.

Victims’ difficulties are compounded by the fact that many people fail to take images-based abuse seriously and some even blame the victim. Historically, police have been slow to prosecute perpetrators, even when significant evidence exists, but this is beginning to change as many countries adopt laws geared specifically toward internet crime. In 2015, revenge porn became a criminal offense in the UK; Powell and the other researchers recommend that Australia adopt a similar federal policy rather than the current system where standards vary from state to state.

In the meantime, victims need all the help they can get. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts at Reputation Defender if you are struggling with this type of abuse.

Which 4 Social Media Platforms Will Enhance Your Online Reputation?

It’s predicted that by 2018 the UK alone will have over 17 million Twitter users. That’s just one indicator of how essential social media has become for businesses and private individuals today. A strong presence on social media can greatly enhance your online reputation, whereas a limited presence can hinder it.

To start, there are some platforms you may want to steer clear of. Myspace and Bebo are two examples of outdated social networks. Both popular at their peak, Bebo was sold and closed in 2008 and Myspace has seen a significant collapse in users. Today, Bebo exists as a messaging app while Myspace – under the ownership of Justin Timberlake – has shifted from social media into a music and news media platform. Google+ is another largely ignored social network. Of 2.2 billion Google users, only 1% of them were actively on Google+ in 2015.

YouTube

YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing platform and actually the world’s second largest search engine. Every month, users watch 3.25 billion hours of videos on YouTube. There’s a staggering opportunity to reach consumers through YouTube. Using video content can be a great way to strongly engage users through multimedia. Videos made on YouTube can also be shared easily on other social media platforms, so a YouTube profile perfectly complements a social media network.

Twitter

With 328 million monthly active users in 2017’s first quarter, Twitter is very popular. Designed for short messages of no more than 140 characters, as well as picture and video sharing, Twitter is a great and easy way to interact with customers as individuals.

Facebook

Facebook had over 32 million user profiles in 2016 and that’s just in the UK. Facebook is great for sharing pictures, statuses and videos, and communicating directly with customers. A strong Facebook presence is a great way to improve your online reputation.

It’s not just businesses that benefit from Facebook. 60% of employers use social media to screen candidates. A great Facebook profile lets you appear professional and highlights any personal detail you think make you interesting to employers.

LinkedIn

Different from Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is a networking tool for professionals. LinkedIn is particularly useful for individuals seeking to boost their online reputation and enhance their careers. A well-made LinkedIn profile with plenty of connections is a great way to appear professional to potential employers.

Don’t Let Banking Online Make You the Next Fraud Victim

Online banking is a convenient way to manage money without the hassle of bank closing times or waiting for a cheque to clear. Yet there are risks with accessing financial information over the internet that shouldn’t be ignored. Numerous cyber criminals browse the web looking for personal data that can yield a cash payoff. All it takes is a few security oversights to make your account easy to hack and to turn you into the next target.

How to Stay Clear of Hackers

At Reputation Defender we warn our clients about the dangers of personal information becoming publicly available through careless online privacy. Data leaks can cause reputational fallout and they will also help a hacker to access your bank accounts and fraudulently transfer money. Here are some of the most important precautions you should take to stay safe whilst banking online:

• Avoid Public Networks – Never access a bank account on a public computer or a free Wi-Fi network. These are inherently insecure and may be regularly monitored by cyber criminals.
• Bank on a Single Device – Keep your banking limited to a personal laptop or an iPad that isn’t used by children or other people who may be careless online.
• Use Secure Passwords – A strong password is one that combines numbers, letters and symbols, but does not include any guessable information such as birthdays, names or addresses. It’s a good idea to change your password several times a year. If you have trouble remembering complicated passwords, invest in a password manager.
• Avoid Phishing Attacks – One common online scam is a fake notice advising that an account is insecure or the password has been reset by someone else. If you receive an unsolicited notice like this, never click on the link contained in the email. It likely contains a virus that will allow the scammer to steal your banking details. Instead, sign in via another secure app or call the bank to check your account status. Do not give out financial details in an email or over the phone. If someone is asking for this information they are not from your bank; they are a fraud.
• Keep a Close Eye on Accounts – Check into your account regularly to make sure you recognize all the transactions. Report any suspicious activity immediately so your bank can take action before further hacks take place.
• Set Privacy Controls on Social Media – This might not seem important for banking, but poor privacy elsewhere on the web can give a hacker the answer to many security questions (such as your mother’s maiden name, the name of your pet, your first car etc.). Details like this quickly become a reason for a thief to target your account.
• Protect Your Pin – Never give your pin to anyone, even someone you trust. Take measures to protect your pin in physical locations by shielding the console and checking for observers.
• Shred Physical Documents – Documents containing account numbers, social security numbers or any type of personal information should never be thrown in the trash.

Statistically, only a small number of people get hacked, yet this doesn’t mean criminals aren’t already checking out your account looking for a way in. Any account can be breached given enough time and effort, so the key is to put enough security measures in place so that criminals will lose interest.

How Can Social Media Help Business Strategy?

Social media is one of the most important, fastest growing parts of the internet. This term loosely refers to platforms and apps that allow users to create and share content, whilst at the same time participate in social networking. At first glance, social media might seem to be geared toward private individuals, but more and more businesses are finding these platforms to be a vital marketing asset.

Professional social media pages are key in any reputation management strategy. At Reputation Defender we help company brands to boost their online profile by improving search rankings and presenting a positive cohesive brand message. Official social media profiles are a target page one result, as well as a place to promote other content.

Social Media for Business

Business focused social media is all about using social channels to connect and engage with customers and build long term relationships. Of the many social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most important for focusing an initial business strategy.

The social media audience is vast. Globally, 1.55 billion people use Facebook per month; about 72 percent of all people active on the internet. Of these, 70 percent say they interact on a daily basis. By contrast, only 38 percent of Twitter users and 22 percent of LinkedIn account holders are active daily. None the less, Twitter is one of the most popular microblogging platforms with 341 million active monthly users, whilst LinkedIn is largely seen as the most official social media business directory.

Facebook

A business Facebook profile offers a chance to interact with customers on a personal level via a trusted platform. Followers will begin to see the business in the same way they view their friends. They’ll look forward to regular posts that are genuine and thoughtful.

At the same time, Facebook offers a way for new clients to find out important details about your business such as location, history and contact info. It’s important to claim your brand name as a keyword and link back to the company website through your business profile. You can also add a “Like us on Facebook” button to the company website. Facebook will offer different templates depending on the type of business to let you target the audience you want to reach.

Many Facebook features are designed to make the platform accessible and useful for business purposes. Call to action buttons introduced in 2014 offer suggestions for customer activity such as “contact us”, “book now” or “sign up.” One click will take the client straight to the desired page, so this is a very effective way of driving traffic to your website. Typical business posts can share brand-based videos, images and blog articles. A Facebook page can also be used to advertise a special offer or promote client feedback. Sponsored advertising campaigns disseminate material even more efficiently and ensures that all followers see all your posts, while Facebook Analytics will help to pinpoint your current activity level and target improvement.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter can be used to interact with customers, promote material and increase awareness for your product. A business profile should promote the business name, target an important keyword and link back to the official company website. A logo and other professional images can give the account a more personal touch.

Tweets can be leveraged for business purposes by promoting a specific marketing message. Tools such as TweetDeck and Periscope allow for multimedia tweets, while the hashtag system targets a specific topic zone. Like Facebook, Twitter offers paid advertising for businesses that want to maximize the marketing aspect of their account and Twitter Analytics offers tools for analyzing strategies and measuring success.

LinkedIn

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn carries more authority than Facebook or Twitter. This platform offers the opportunity to connect with colleagues and industry leaders, recruit potential employees and gain referrals. Managers will need a personal page to set up a business profile on LinkedIn, so this is the perfect opportunity to build your own career along with the company’s reputation. A Premium Account offers enhanced opportunities for profile viewing and targeted searches.

Like Facebook and Twitter, a business profile on LinkedIn should include all the company’s details and link back to the website. LinkedIn allows several different administrators, so it’s easy to delegate account management tasks to other employees. Showcase Pages on LinkedIn lets you target additional keywords and highlight specific company products and services. You can also post job applications and send targeted email marketing.

Fine-tune Your Profiles

In contrast to traditional advertising, social media is about connecting personally with customers whilst sharing the brand message. Especially on Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to strike a balance between promotion and providing genuinely interesting content that will make people want to follow your page.

  • Keep advertising in check – Out of 7 posts, only 1 should be obviously promotional.
  • Ask questions – Find out which industry related topics interest your followers the most.
  • Post fun facts – You’ll gain authority and help clients learn more about what you do.
  • Provide valuable tips – People will keep following to learn more.
  • Offer rewards – Organize a contest or offer points for virtual check-ins at your business.

A dedicated group of social media followers is a valuable reputational asset for any business. It increases customer retention and provides a long term client base which will help to counteract negative publicity in the future.

How Can I Get People To View My Website?

Getting people to view your website is a vital part of any internet marketing campaign and also an important ORM tactic. A high organic click through rate (CTR) translates into conversions that will boost the company’s client base. While CTR isn’t formally listed as one of Google’s direct algorithmic ranking factors, it does indirectly affect the SERP and helps to determine whether a website will hold its place at the top of the search page.

Reputation Defender’s online brand promotion services include a wide range of strategies that will drive up traffic to your company’s official site. There are multiple reasons why people may be directed to your site, from finding it on a search page, to hearing it mentioned on social media, or seeing your name on a conference flyer.

Here are some of the ways to create buzz around your company site:

Become a Social Media Expert

Official social media profiles are a must for any company interested in developing an online profile. Once these pages are created, use them to generate activity and direct people back to your website.

  • Start with the basics – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and of course Google+.
  • Share articles – It’s important to share blog articles and other brand content.
  • Share pictures – Profiles on Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest are good places to upload images that can be shared on other pages.
  • Include video content – Post videos to YouTube and share them on social media sites. Use Periscope and Facebook Live to incorporate a live feed to your page.
  • Create content that is innately shareable – Use SlideShare or design infographics that maximize the visual impact of the message.
  • Add links – Make sure there is a website link on all social media profiles.
  • Call to action – Adding these buttons on Facebook and other social platforms will let you direct traffic to a specific action page.
  • Add social sharing buttons on blog articles and website pages – This will encourage people to link to your content on their own pages.
  • Re-share articles – Don’t assume all followers have seen an article after one share. Buffer and Edgar are 2 apps that will automatically re-share content at scheduled times.
  • Do a “Share Exchange” – Reach out to a similar sized account and offer to share their content (including a website link) if they will return the favor. This can open up reach to a whole new audience.
  • Don’t forget about these sites:
  • Quora – Generate material by answering questions that relate to your industry.
  • Reddit – There are a lot of rules against spamming on Reddit but if you take the time to build a profile that’s known for posting genuine and informative content, there can be a big payoff in site traffic. Once you have a following, try showing off your expertise by hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.
  • Product Hunt – Submit a physical or digital product to Product Hunt’s “list of cool new things”.
  • Lesser known social media – Tumblr, Snapchat, Buzznet, WhatsApp, About.me etc.
Target Your Email Audience

There’s a narrower exposure window but email can still be an important way of gaining regular customers who visit your site often.

  • Email outreach – Send targeted emails about new products on your site and include a link.
  • Embedded link – Put a website link in your email signature.
  • Autoresponder – Add a link and an invitation to find out more on the company website.
Get the Company in the News

If your brand is in the news regularly, people will start to recognize it as an authority.

  • Pitch an interesting new product – Blogs are always looking for good stories. They may be thrilled to learn about something that would interest their audience and you will subsequently gain exposure.
  • Google News – If the site puts out regular updates, you may be able to register it a news source with Google. There are specific content rules here, since Google is resistant to news releases that are basically marketing, but sites that comply will gain a big audience.
  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – Sign up to be interviewed as an expert in your industry and link to the article on your website and social profiles.
Convert Offline Contacts

In person, contacts can turn into website traffic when people go online to learn more about your business or product. Here are some ways to make this happen:

  • Business cards – Create a personal or brand business card that includes your company’s website address.
  • Posters – Display the website address prominently in all physical locations.
  • Pass out promotional gifts – Hand out pens, stickers or tote bags bearing the company logo and website.
  • Build a mailing list – Ask face-to-face customers for their email.
  • Network – Attend an industry related conference. Share information about the conference on social media pages and write an article about your experience. You could even offer to sponsor relatable events.
  • Help customers get to know you – Organize a workshop or conference where people can learn more about your product and how to use it.

Generating fresh website traffic will be an ongoing campaign. It begins with generating interest in the brand through genuine content and personal interaction. It is then important to give clear and easy directions to additional information via the company’s website. Use a variety of platforms, as suggested in the list above, to give the company the best chance of connecting with the most people. For more help with building an effective campaign, contact our online marketing experts at Reputation Defender.

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Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

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