By Matthew Saari
There exists a website, frequented by hundreds of thousands of users, which allows people to request and post photographs of women – completely anonymously.
The brief descriptor of the site, Anon Image Board, encapsulates its purpose.
“Anon is an adult image board where anyone can share porn images and write comments anonymously,” the site’s Google entry read.
The site is a far-reaching enterprise, comprising categories for all 50 states. Once a specific state is entered, the users then create or comment on existing message chains, which are often times accompanied by large, stylized zip codes, letting other users know what area they’re seeking content.
From there, the users post pictures – some nude, some clothed – of women.
“It didn’t seem to have any specific standard of content,” said Granville-Whitehall Sgt. Ryan Pedone, who noted some content was drawn from social media sources like Snapchat or Instagram while others appeared taken from cell phones.
One message thread, dating back to April and continuing to the end of July, consisted of various users calling for content from the local region.
“Anyone have any of the foreign chicks that used to belong to the summer camps near Granville,” one post from April 26 read.
“Amber M(orrow)? Whitehall? Burke sisters out of Ti and Granville? Kaitlyn F (Colonie?)” another post read, dated April 28.
“Any more Granville chicks?” was the last post, dated July 29.
Pedone confirmed the site had been brought to his attention by a concerned resident. However after a cursory review of the content, Pedone said he saw where photos of local girls were being requested but he did not see any images of locals, to his knowledge.
There have been no criminal cases handled by either Granville or Whitehall police departments concerning the site, Pedone said.
A call to State Police, requesting comment and whether that agency has investigated the site, went unreturned.
The anonymous porn site was brought to local attention when Fort Ann native Devon Heydrick posted screen captures of the message board, alerting locals of the situation and hoping to raise awareness.
“I saw a Facebook post about it and I went to the website and checked myself,” Heydrick said. “What I found was appalling.”
Heydrick said he was moved to action after he saw images of classmates being posted to the site, without their knowledge or consent.
“I decided to make a post to make sure everyone is aware of the situation on how a lot of girls are being exploited without even knowing it,” he said.
As of press time, Heydrick’s Facebook post was shared 356 times and garnered 31 reactions and 30 comments.
Data provided by SimilarWeb, a website which provides web traffic data, indicates the site is quite popular. SimilarWeb estimates Anon Image Board had 350,000 users in July.