Thursday, May 06, 2021

The photo that the porn site used to create Kate’s 18+ profile

A WATERFORD woman got the fright of her life last week when photographs of her appeared on an 18+ website/profile without her consent – or indeed – her knowledge. Kate O’Beirne would be well known in Waterford as an artist, singer, vocal coach and many more talents that certainly do not include working for the adult entertainment industry. She sings regularly in St. Joseph’s and Benildus Church on Newtown Road and told the Waterford News & Star that she was “mortified” when some friends alerted her to the fake profile.

“I’ve heard of Facebook profiles being hacked and duplicated, but this was something far more serious,” Kate said. “This was a porn page and for anyone stumbling upon it, it looked as if it was mine.”

Kate has established a good brand for herself online with titles including The Famous Black Velvet (thefamousblackvelvet.com), where Kate sells handmade products such as soaps, jewellery, face-masks etc and The Famous Kate (@thefamouskate on Instagram and Youtube) where Kate showcases her artistic and vocal talents. It was this ‘famous’ title that the porn hackers exploited, giving her the new name of “Kate the Famouss”(with an extra ’s’).

“I’m self employed so I rely on my online presence for marketing,” Kate said. “I really don’t have a choice when it comes to my privacy settings… when you’re self employed, you need the exposure, albeit the right kind.”

Kate’s ‘porn problem’ started with an innocent photograph taken at an even more innocent birthday party.

Kate told the Waterford News & Star that she was mortified when she found the page.

“My husband and my daughter and I had a little lockdown party for my birthday,” she said. “We got a takeaway and got dressed up for the laugh… to make us feel like we were on the town.”

Feeling great about life, Kate posed for a photo on her couch, and uploaded it to her @thefamouskate Instagram account.

“It’s a nice photo… I was feeling good… but it certainly wasn’t explicit or anything like that,” Kate said. “I was showing a bit of leg but no more than if someone was wearing a pair of shorts! God knows what they saw that made them think of setting up an 18+ porn page with it.”

The new, 18+ profile had images of Kate, stolen from her instagram, with the famous birthday picture as the main header on the page. It contained links to other porn sites.

Kate reported the page and also contacted the guards.

“I felt extremely violated,” she said. “All I could think of were the people who might find the page and think that it was actually me behind it.”

To her amazement, the guards told Kate that there was nothing they could do about the identity theft.

“Even worse still, they told me that it wasn’t even illegal,” she said. “My business won’t go anywhere if I have all my profiles hidden but it’s slightly disconcerting to know that my pics, or anyone else’s could be taken at any moment and used to promote porn sites.”

Presently, there are no safety measures you can take with your social media profiles if they are set to public. The only advice the guards and companies like Facebook and Instagram offer is to restrict the amount of people who have access to your accounts – which is of little use if you’re self employed hoping that your products will get noticed.

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