The Pentagon Isn’t Stopping Revenge Porn Sites. So One Marine Veteran Is Doing It On Her Own.

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Photo courtesy of Erin Kirk-Cuomo.

UPDATE: This story was updated on March 10 to include a statement from a Dropbox spokeswoman.


Defense officials seem impotent to stop it, but former Marine Sgt. Erin Kirk-Cuomo has scored a rare victory in the war against military revenge porn by shutting down a new Marines United site.

Vice News first reported on Friday that the all-male Facebook group “Blame Marines United (Non-Butthurt Edition)” had been sharing revenge porn images and a link to an online Dropbox folder titled “Hoes Hoin,” which included more than 260 explicit pictures of women — some of which included the women’s dogtags, uniforms, and other identifiable information.

Kirk-Cuomo, who co-founded the group “Not In My Marine Corps” to combat sexual assault and harassment within the military, was tipped off about the Facebook group, which had about 400 members, on March 6. He alerted Facebook on March 6; within 24 hours, the group was shut down, she said.

Related: Here’s How The Corps Still Needs To Change A Year After Marines United»

“I think Facebook has been doing an incredible job responding to us since this time last year, with the original Marines United [group],” Kirk-Cuomo told Task & Purpose on Friday. “They’ve definitely shown us that they are working hard to prevent revenge porn on their platform.”

Fromer Marine Sgt. Erin Kirk-Cuomo while deployed to Iraq in 2008.Photo courtesy of Erin Kirk-Cuomo.

Dropbox has also made sure that no one can access the link to the explicit pictures, a company spokeswoman told Task & Purpose on Saturday.

“This link has been taken down and banned so it cannot be recirculated on Dropbox,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “As always, we investigate reports of content that violate our Acceptable Use Policy. If we find a violation, we take down the content and, when appropriate, take other measures such as banning the content and/or reporting to law enforcement.”

Last year, Corps veteran Thomas Brennan first reported for The War Horse that active-duty Marines were members of the original Marines United Facebook group, where they shared explicit photos of female troops and other women. Some members actively harassed women in the pictures.

The resulting scandal prompted the Marine Corps and Navy to criminalize posting explicit pictures of people online without their consent, but relatively few Marines and sailors have faced punishment under the new regulations.

So far, 55 Marines have faced discipline for online social media misconduct. Six faced a special court-martial; one received a summary court-martial; six were administratively separated; 15 were given non-judicial punishments; and 27 received adverse administrative action, according to Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Brian Block.

“These cases span beyond the Marines United Facebook page and reflect investigations on a spectrum of misconduct,” Block said in an email. “While many cases involve photos, clothed or explicit, some involve verbal remarks without images.”

Kirk-Cuomo is frustrated that no one at the Defense Department seems to make a priority of finding sites like the latest incarnation of Marines United.

“I have full-time job; I’m a mother; I have my own business – and I still managed to do this in my ‘free time,’” she said.

She also knows what is like to be targeted by online sexists. While she was deployed to Iraq, some selfies of her in uniform from her MySpace page were downloaded by others and used in “smash or pass” posts online, she said.

“Obviously, this is a problem that is causing issues in good order and discipline within the military,” Kirk-Cuomo said. “It’s a problem in retention for females in the Marine Corps and the other services.

As for the defense establishment’s inability to find offending sites before she could, Kirk-Cuomo added, “I would love for them to put me out of a ‘job.’”

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