To my surprise, this also happened to me. I added a red leather jacket on Vinted. Minutes later I got a message: “Hi, is this cute? Is it tough? I’m going to sell this soon, it was my first thought.”
The person continued to ask questions. innocent at first sight. ‘Girl, I want to wear it with leather pants and high heels. Do you have such clothes yourself so I can see what they look like? Can you also send photos from behind? The alarm had not yet begun to ring.
After I sent pictures, without my face and recognizable circumference, the buyer said, “It’s hard to see the light. Do you have a clearer picture and can you wear a leather skirt? I’ll give you more money for it if I buy it, because I want to see it.” While my curtains were fully open and were The sun is shiny.
Not so innocent after all
At such a moment, the feeling of naivety prevails. How can I fall here? Followed by the disbelief that as a woman you will have to deal with this on an innocent platform like Vinted. Sexual harassment often seems to begin innocently, but is quickly veered off course.
If you don’t wear it, sell it It is Vinted’s logo. Vinted, where people mainly buy, sell or exchange used clothing, has grown in popularity in the Netherlands and Belgium in recent years.
The Lithuanian company acquired the used clothing platform Utrecht United Wardrobe in 2020. In one year, the number of Vinted users worldwide increased from five million to fifty million.
Obviously not every member is out of range lovable Fashion Origins. It has become a place to crawl. Don’t expect that on Vinted, because Vinted seems like a harmless app. I have been using Vinted for a year and there are crazy things going on on the app” rulindi*He is 26 years old. She lives in Dentlord and is in front of the class in everyday life.
the negative aspect of Internet
It’s not just about sexual harassment in the Vinted chat. In groups on Telegram and Reddit, maliciously obtained photos of unsuspecting girls and young women in clothes and bikinis are shared.
A survey by Plan International shows that 58 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 25 experience online harassment. In this study, social media channels were examined. Online marketplaces like Vinted are not included in this. With Vinted’s unprecedented growth, the downside of the internet was inevitable.
For many perverts, the threshold is low for hiding behind a curtain and harassing women anonymously. According to consumer psychology Patrick Wessels The fact that the focus is on selling clothes may be one of the reasons why sexual harassment is so common on Vinted.
It also makes Vinted different, for example, Marktplaats. Vinted removes most of the barriers for users. Users take photos, upload them with a small Marktplaats-style ad and sell a lot. The administrative process and the transfer process have become easy and cheap,” explains Wessels.
People do not use Vinted with the expectation that they may become a victim of online sexual harassment. The main motive of the consumer is to make money. Since Vinted is easily accessible, users open up more easily to others on the platform. “Consumers adapt to the image of the platform they are using,” Wessels says.
When the platform is relatively new, consumers are more likely to look at what others are doing. “The consumer then asks themselves questions like ‘How should I act in this situation?'” explains Wessels. and “What do I need to do to be successful?” If they see that others are taking pictures in a certain way, it will be easier for them to keep up. And then it is easier to post pictures of you because others do too.
“I’m not the only one experiencing it”
Rolinde’s Vinted profile shows photos where she is wearing clothes and her face is visible. “I intentionally take pictures so that people can see what the dress looks like, otherwise people will still ask for these pictures,” Rolindy says.
This is also the case for Celine† I post pictures of myself wearing clothes to avoid any questions. People regularly ask if I’d like to send pictures of the side and back. Sometimes I get messages like “I don’t have beautiful boobs like you” and then I don’t reply anymore. Then I know this person is only after one thing, says Celine.
Andrea*Vinted has been used for 2 years now. I never send additional pictures of myself wearing clothes. I take pictures where my face is not visible and use a blank white wall as the background. I hope to maintain some form of privacy with this.
“It’s annoying that we even have to deal with this in Vinted, where women mainly sell clothes. It made me angry especially at first. When I shared my story with my friends and family, I found out I wasn’t the only one who experienced it. I decided not to let it affect me.” And to embrace the idea that unfortunately I will have to deal with these kinds of problems,” says Andrea.
Selling used bikini bottoms
water* He sold a bathing suit to a seventeen-year-old girl. She asked if her brother could pick it up after he finished his work. I thought okay. We exchanged phone numbers, which was dumb in hindsight. In the meantime, text me. He asked me if I could send pictures in a bikini, what was my Instagram and what was my name.
I did not send pictures and did not give my name on Instagram and my name. After he also asked if he could buy used bikini bottoms, I blocked him. I reported the Vinted account,” May says.
“I’d hate for him to have my number. I find it strange that this happens in Vinted. I’ve seen it many times on Marktplaats. I was hoping the people at Vinted would be more professional and approach the platform that way,” says May.
Unwanted photos on Telegram
The unauthorized sharing of nude photos, videos, and violent content on Telegram and Reddit is not a new phenomenon. The latest development is that Vinted users are now the victims too. It is difficult to determine exactly how many so-called debunking groups exist. Rolinde and Celine aren’t the only ones who have Vinted photos shared in these collections.
The photos I upload are not a photo challenge. I’m not ashamed of anything, Rolindy says. “People who share pictures in groups like this are just sick minds. I can’t imagine that with a picture like this you think I should share if this is a whore or a whore. Rolinde tries not to care because there are only a few subscribers to the group on Telegram.
Now that I know this is on Vinted, I’ll be more careful in the future about the photos I post and that my face isn’t in the photo. On the other hand, they are not hot photos, but they are very natural. If these pictures end up elsewhere on the internet, that doesn’t make me a different person. Should I be ashamed of this? No, because there’s nothing to see, Rolindy says.
Celine was also unaware that her bikini photos of Vintide were circulating in an exposed group on Telegram. Celine was asked to send in additional photos of the purple bikini wearing it. Both front and back. Celine took the photos, sent them to the interested party, and also added the photos to her Vinted account. “I have a lot of questions about my bikini bottoms. I cut my head off in the pictures,” Celine says.
When Celine learned these photos were being shared on Telegram, she got the bikini pics from Vinted. “No one else has the right to distribute my photos. I don’t like that these photos have been shared on Telegram. On the other hand, I chose to put them on Vinted myself. I’m not nude in the photos. But I don’t want my photos to be used for other things”, explains Celine. .
I didn’t expect the photos I put on Vinted to end up like this. Vinted is also a place where my grandmother and aunt can sell things from clothes to toys. Or where young girls buy clothes, Celine says.
Vinted is responsible for protecting members and preventing sexual harassment. Vinted did not come up with the idea of facilitating cross-border behavior. This does not change the fact that it could be a result of the concept they developed. Ethically, Vinted must protect the user. This means that you should inform people of how users are dealing with this and offer possibilities to contact us if something like this happens, says Wessels.
According to the Economist Platform Martin Arets It remains an issue when other users “steal” photos by taking screenshots and sharing them elsewhere. Vinted can’t do much against that. Arets adds: ‘The general terms and conditions may prohibit sharing images on other channels. But no one reads these terms. And even if they did, it wouldn’t deter them.
According to Arets, Vinted could easily implement technology that counteracts this type of behaviour. For example, by blocking screenshots, not accepting images with recognizable faces on the platform, or requiring users to associate their account with an identity document. It’s also the case with shared scooters, for example, Arets says.
Any form of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior is too much. Vinted said they cannot release accurate data on the number of online sexual harassment reports they receive. They state that each report is taken seriously and that each is investigated individually. It is impossible to verify to what extent this actually occurs.
*Full names are known to the editors