Pembroke Pines Police said Friday they’re investigating after getting numerous complaints from young people who have seen pornographic pictures of themselves pop up on social media.
Police announced Friday afternoon that 18 people have contacted them saying they’ve seen their own racy pictures on either Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
“These juvenile victims are being harassed and bullied at school,” Capt. Carlos Bermudez said. “It is starting to snowball a little bit to the point where many of their classmates or friends know about these photographs, they're going online looking at them.”
The victims range in age from 12 to adults. In some instances the picture is accompanied with the name and the victim’s school.
Police said they received their first complaint on Tuesday.
Bermudez said the pictures are making it onto social media in two ways. In some instances, a person snaps a selfie, oftentimes in the nude, and then sends it to a friend. That friend then forwards it to a third party, and investigators say the picture goes viral from there.
In other instances accounts are just being hacked, police said.
“You have an individual who starts the sites,” Bermudez said. “They, just like any social media site, they get followers and they spread the word around and they get more followers, and before you know it you have hundreds of thousands of people following these sites and then hundreds of thousands of people submitting photos and these individuals are committing a felony.”
Police said they believe at least two people are creating these pornographic accounts, and investigators believe there are likely more suspects as well as more victims.
The FBI and the Broward District Schools Police are also working on the case.