Alleged Instagram group shares explicit photos of Sudbury women

To raise awareness about the dangers of sharing private images, a woman in Sudbury, Ont., is drawing attention to a private Instagram conversation that allegedly took place among eight men.

Screenshots of an alleged private conversation were posted to the Facebook group PSA 4 Sudbury Girls

      1 of 0

      Chanel Mathieu was recently browsing through Facebook when she received an invitation from a friend to check out a group called "PSA 4 Sudbury Girls." 

      It featured screenshots from an alleged private Instagram conversation among several men in Sudbury, Ont.

      "It's the f----in community nude pool," one of the men apparently wrote.

      "We could ruin girls in Sudbury with this lol," another person wrote.

      A post in the Facebook group explained that the PSA creator recently came across an Instagram direct message group called "Poon Platoon" that shared hundreds of pictures of women received all over Sudbury, including nudes and links to their social media profiles. 

      'Incredible intrusion of privacy'

      Many of the photos were taken from SnapChat — with instructions to not screenshot or share the images with anyone else besides the receiver, according to the Facebook group's owner.

      "This is an incredible intrusion of privacy and is beyond wrong," the post's author wrote.

      "Girls around Sudbury, you have the right to know. Your body, your photos, and your consent have been violated."

      The post also listed the names of eight men who appear to be part of the group. 

      CBC News has made attempts to reach the individuals, but they have not responded to the allegations against them. 

      Chanel Mathieu shared screenshots of an alleged conversation between several men in Sudbury, Ont. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

      'Everybody needs to know'

      A screenshot of an alleged apology from one of the men was sent to CBC News from his friend.

      "I would never intentionally 'hurt' someone or try to 'ruin their life,'" the man wrote.

      "The comments I made were meant to stay between friends and regardless of that it was wrong and I am truly sorry."

      The Facebook PSA group featuring screenshots of the alleged Instagram conversation has since been deleted.

      But Mathieu does not want people to forget about what happened. 

      She took screenshots of the alleged Instagram direct message and shared it on her own Facebook wall to inform as many women as possible.

      "Everybody needs to know about it," Mathieu said. 

      "Even though you're sharing a picture with a guy, he doesn't have consent to share it with other guys."

      Mathieu said she has been personally victimized by men in the past who have tried to pressure her into sending selfies.

      "If you shut them down, they'll shut you down or start rumours about you," Mathieu said. "[They'll] just be so rude about it."

      Complaints about the non-consensual sharing of photos are on the rise within the Greater Sudbury Police cyber crime unit, according to detective sergeant Blair Ramsay. (GSPS)

      Hopeful 'people can just learn'

      Greater Sudbury Police are not currently investigating the "Poon Platoon," says Detective Sergeant Blair Ramsay.

      But he said complaints about the non-consensual sharing of photos are on the rise. 

      "Even though you may trust that person at that time, it comes down to, 'do you want to relinquish that image to somebody? To stop the victimization of that person, try to get that image stopped [from] being shared." 

      Ramsay suggests contacting social media websites to remove an image and police to get an occurrence number to reference in the complaint. 

      He also recommended visiting the cybertip.ca for more advice on how to protect yourself.

      Meanwhile, Mathieu says she has been criticized for sharing the Instagram posts.

      "I've had people tell me there's no point in sharing this because there's so many groups out there of guys doing this — [and] that it's only one in a million," Mathieu said.

      "Even though they were doing it on their own terms, and like nobody was finding out about it because it was so personal, it was still something that somebody did end up coming across ... I'm just hoping that people can just learn about this."

      An alleged Facebook apology posted by one of the members of the alleged Instagram conversation.

      About the Author

      Olivia Stefanovich

      Reporter

      Olivia Stefanovich is a network reporter for CBC News based in Toronto. She previously worked in Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.