What This Woman Found out Her Pictures Are Being Used for

December 13th 2016

Laura Donovan

The social media presence of anti-Semites and white supremacists received a lot of attention throughout the election cycle. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that 2.6 million anti-Semitic messages were posted on Twitter alone between August 2015 and July 2016. Like other web users, these bigots use memes usually featuring people who did not consent to being used for white supremacist propaganda, an investigation by Racked reveals.

For the investigation, writer Rose Eveleth interviewed a German blogger named Joana Gröblinghoff whose photos have been frequently used by white supremacist social media accounts. Her photos have been placed alongside phrases such as, "White women must be protected from the hordes of imported savages that are swarming into Northern countries. #WhiteGenocide," Eveleth wrote.

Gröblinghoff, Eveleth reported, was appalled to learn that white supremacists have been using her photos in this way:

“This is disgusting! I was never asked for permission and this is not the way I want to see my face on the internet!”

Online harassment lawyer Carrie Goldberg told Eveleth that, unfortunately, it's hard to prevent something like this from happening.

“I have clients whose baby’s pictures were mined from somebody’s Instagram page and used as evidence to prove the existence of a bogus child sex trafficking ring,” Goldberg said. “Many clients’ images have been used for catfishing schemes — where somebody has appropriated their image and created bogus social media pages to lure other people into scams.”

This happens outside the white supremacist online community as well.

In June 2016, ATTN: reported on another situation where someone's social media photos ended up being used without their consent on other platforms. Australian blogger Meg Ireland claimed her pregnancy bump photos had been placed on a fetish porn site.


A photo posted by Meg (@shutupmeg91) on

"I see so many people upload their bump pics and now I just gasp and hope to god they don't get into the hands of someone they shouldn't," she wrote on Instagram in June. "We shouldn't have to worry about people stealing our photos, but unfortunately it happens ALL THE TIME!"

Read the full Racked story here.

Update 12/13/2016 1:24 p.m. PDT: This article has been updated to clarify that Joana Gröblinghoff is German, not Swedish.