**UPDATE- 4/10 22:21 EST** I mentioned in this post that it was hacked, that was incorrect of me. The person who created the list simply exploited Fetlife’s code to release information. This information (while not directly outing people) could be used to out people. If you’re concerned, I strongly suggest removing all identifying photos.
**In addition, Fetlife has been terrible at protecting their communities (specifically those who are sexually assaulted). Please don’t take my silence as an indication that these weren’t issues before, I simply haven’t had the chance to write about them, whereas this was slightly more time sensitive.
***Finally, it appears that for whatever reason the lists have been taken down. While this is AWESOME, it does not address the many issues with Fetlife’s inability to care for their subscribers and members, nor does it address the lack of security on a site that clearly deals with some sensitive information. Do not tell me that you should not put something on the internet you don’t want to have seen. I disagree and I don’t give a shit about your opinion on that topic.
**UPDATE- 4/12** I mention in this post that Fetlife did not sue in the appropriate amount of time. After talking with people who have quite a bit more experience than I do with the legalities of the internet, I’ve learned that there is really nothing that they can legally do, as the person in question did not release what could be considered protected content (e.g., photos, videos, writings). My apologies for my sass surrounding the legal stuff, however I still feel they had a responsibility to alert their members.
**UPDATE- 4/30** MayMay has released a Fetlife Creep List, which does the same thing as the “meatlist”. I’m not comfortable with any of this information being released, but I felt it relevant to include.
I am furious. I am absolutely furious. This morning I learned that there is a list circulating on the internet. On this list are the profile names, links, and other information (age, location, sexual orientation, BDSM role, and more that I can’t see on my mobile devices currently) for the women on Fetlife under 30. There are currently two volumes, though the author mentions posting more, potentially up to 30.
If you’re concerned that your name is on these lists, here are the links. I’m opting for Donotlink.com because I cannot even. **EDIT** It appears that the links aren’t currently working for whatever reason. Hopefully they’ve been taken down, but just in case the Do Not Link posts aren’t working, I’ve listed the original links below. Sorry y’all.
The benevolent (sarcasm) shitbox creator mentions in his writings that this was done because he wants to remind people that the site isn’t secure. While I understand that the idea of security on the internet is sort of an illusion, (and as I’ll get to below, I commend him calling out Fetlife’s shitty security) let’s note that he didn’t simply post every profile on Fetlife in a searchable, public forum, but rather only the ones for women under the age of 30 (I could write an entire post on why this is fucked, but I will simply leave it as is for now). Similarly, he calls it a “Meatlist”, which pretty much means to me that he’s justifying his behavior by saying “This website isn’t safe, for the many youngish babes I’ve made vulnerable herein. You’re welcome, m’ladies.”. He then tips his fedora and scampers off to boast about how Alpha he is while he negs a girl at a bar. Oh wait, am I mixing my assholes again? Oops.
Let’s also fucking talk about what the fuck Fetlife has been doing during this? This is NOT the first time this list has been posted, but evidently, On Feb. 17th, 2015 Fetlife issued a DMCA takedown. The author took the information down, and republished the list on March 3rd, 2015 because Fetlife FAILED TO SUE IN TIME.
I’m sorry, but what the fuck is Fetlife’s legal team doing currently? Where the fuck are they, and how did they drop the ball on this? How do they sleep at night, knowing that they are leaving people vulnerable. Knowing that the site behaves as though privacy violations, security, and other methods of “outing” kinksters are the worst things that can happen? They have built a false sense of security, and then, when they are tested on it, when they are given the chance to protect their members (namely, young female members who are often preyed upon in the BDSM community), they fail them by NOT FUCKING FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH LEGAL ACTION!
Beyond that, where the fuck is John Baku for this? Where is Fetlife alerting their members that their information has been hacked? Where the fuck is the memo sent out to the female members of Ithe community letting them know that their names, ages, sexual orientation, BDSM orientation, and LOCATIONS are now searchable on a website? This information was originally released in February, and the DMCA notice was issued quickly, which means they knew about it. So where the fuck was the notice? Where was the SUBSEQUENT notice that they dropped the ball?
After the very public apology I feel that is owed to the ENTIRE community, I also feel that there needs to be some coding changes. I spoke with two of the coolest computer nerds I know, Mr. Pent(www.mrpent.com), and my own darling husband about what needs to change in terms of how the site is run and coded. Here’s what they had to say:
The Frisky Fairy: “What security measures can be used to ensure that things like this don’t happen again?”
Mr. Pent: “Well, they basically need to rewrite the site. Ground up privacy controls like Facebook/G+. Obviously protecting their back end better too would be good. But, the big issue is it requires a fundamental change in how Fetlife works. AND, from their constant job postings, I suspect they are having trouble finding developer talent and having enough money to get as many people as they need to keep the site moving forward and secure. So the other big pain is they may need to start charging for more features.”
The Frisky Husband: “The ony real way around this issue is to change the entire system over to handshakes where you can’t look at any data unless the other paty agrees, or put everything behind a paywall so publishing a list is useless unless you pony up money to actually see the data. Without changing FL policy to all identity information being shown only to approved friends, any public data is available to the internet public, not just Fetlife users. Fetlife should probably tell you that too.”
I feel that JohnBaku and Fetlife owe their users an apology. They specifically owe their female members under 30 an apology. Our information is out there and being listed publicly. We aren’t even referred to as people in this list, we are referred to as meat. I’m not a piece of meat. They fucked up, and they have now made THOUSANDS of people vulnerable. If Fetlife is unable to truly give promises about security to their members, then they better get their customer care shit together to handle instances when a member is PUBLICLY OUTED.
In the meantime, members should change passwords, take down identifying photos, change ages and genders. **EDIT BELOW** Basically do everything you can to hide who you are on a site that is supposed to be a safe space to express yourself. Though the idea of privacy on the internet is a pipe dream, there is an expectation of privacy given on Fetlife, and an expectation of privacy within alternative communities. Fetlife has failed to protect its users, to protect the members of the communities it has set out to serve, and so now the burden falls onto the community at large. If you can be out, signal boost the shit out of this. If you know someone who falls into the demographic released, let them know to be cautious. Be loud about how you want this community, OUR COMMUNITY to be protected so we can change this. We are the users, this is a service, and we can inspire change.
**EDIT** If you are not currently on the list, changing your name and age will likely keep you off of subsequent lists. If you *ARE* on the list, it is advised to delete/deactivate your profile and create another one. Also, passwords have *not* been linked, but it’s good practice to change them!
In a recent Tweet, Fetlife said “Privacy is very important to us.” (https://twitter.com/fetlife/status/586551770878345216)
Until Next Time.
-The Frisky Fairy