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Police accused of victim blaming in instructional Tik Tok video

The NBI’s communications unit said the video aimed to remind people to think before sharing intimate images.

Kuvakaappaus keskusrikospoliisin tiktok-videosta
Screenshot of the NBI video. Image: Yle

The National Bureau of Investigation is taking heavy flak after posting a Tik Tok video which critics say blames victims rather than wrongdoers for illegally-shared images.

Last week the central investigation authority published a video that illustrated how intimate photos shared by a couple could end up being shared indiscriminately. The voiceover for the video explained a likely situation in which such images could be disseminated.

At the end of the video, viewers were urged to think carefully before sending photos to anyone or even before taking intimate photos at all. "The picture should not have been sent to anyone from the beginning, and it would have been better not to even take the photo," the voiceover said.

However the video may have missed the mark as hundreds of comments were posted in response, accusing the NBI of victim blaming. Commenters argued that the video focused only on the actions of people whose photos had been shared without their permission, rather than the fact that unauthorised sharing of such content is a crime.

"Very unfortunate to see this kind of victim blaming by the police. It will definitely not lower the threshold to seek help from officials if this is their message," one commenter wrote.

Another questioned the decision to focus on potential victims.

"Instead of this video, couldn’t they have made a video about [the fact that] sharing other people’s photos or videos is not only wrong, but a criminal act?"

New video uploaded after backlash

The NBI’s communications unit said that the video aimed to warn young people that when they send a photo, they may not be able to control its onward distribution and that it may even be impossible to have it removed once it is online.

The communications team responded to Yle on a general level via email. The NBI did not respond when asked why the video only offered guidance to potential victims and did not address people who might unlawfully distribute images. The unit also did not respond when asked how it reacted to viewer feedback.

However on Tuesday, the NBI published a new video on its Tik Tok account, which included a warning that illegally sharing photos could result in charges of defamation, invasion of privacy or dissemination of indecent images. It also advised victims to always file a criminal complaint in these cases.

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