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Social Media Sextortion: What You Need to Know

Social Media Sextortion: What You Need to Know

There are more than 4.5 billion people on social media worldwide, with America dominating the list, using social media the most. It is projected that approximately 257 million Americans will use social media by 2023. Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit people, and one way that they do this is through social media sextortion or social media blackmail. If you’re not sure what social media sextortion is or how to deal with Facebook Sextortion and other social media platforms, read on. We’ll explain everything you need to know. 

What is Social Media Sextortion? 

This type of attack involves convincing someone to send compromising photos or videos of themselves on social media sites. Using these images to then blackmail the victim into paying them or sending more explicit content. Usually, the perpetrator will build up the victim’s trust before asking for explicit photos or information. Once the private information is obtained the threats will begin, showing things like screenshots of your friends and followers, families’ social media pages, and much more.  People who are victims of blackmail on social media may suffer psychologically, and develop mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, for some people, sextortion can lead to self-harm or even suicide. 

Different Types of Social Media Sextortion 

A variety of tech-enabled activities can constitute as social media. Among these activities are photo sharing, blogging, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, business networks, and virtual worlds. Blackmail and sextortion can happen on any of these media outlets. These are the most common places where social media sextortion occurs. 


  • Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. 
  • Online video games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, and Discord. 
  • Video chat platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts. 

Instagram and Facebook Sextortion: 

The most popular sites for social media sextortion are Instagram and Facebook Sextortion. As millions of photos and posts are uploaded every second, these sites become a literal hotbed for sextortion. You can check out our blogs on dealing with Facebook/Instagram sextortion. Below are tips if you are facing social media sextortion and blackmail. 


  1. Do not panic! 
  2. Cease communication with the perpetrator immediately and do not pay them! 
  3. Keep all evidence of communication from the sextortionist. 
  4. Set all of your social media profiles to private. 
  5. Report the harassment to the social media platform. 
  6. Report the harassment to local law enforcement agencies and local cybercrime agencies such as the FBI’s Internet Crimes Center. 
  7. Reach out to a professional. There are many third-party companies designed to deal with these cyberbullies!  

What You Need to Know 

It is important to be aware of the risks of sextortion in order to protect yourself from it.  With social media sextortion, being so common nowadays, these few steps are important to keep your accounts safe and protect yourself from photo blackmail from scammers.  
  • Don’t add people you don’t know. Places like Facebook show a lot of valuable information in your about info. For example, where you work, family members, phone numbers, etc. adding strangers can give them access to this kind of information. 
  • Keep all accounts as private as possible. 
  • Turn on 2-factor verification, referred to as dual-factor authentication, is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. 
  • Change passwords frequently and make sure they are complex. 
In conclusion, social media sextortion is a serious issue that isn’t going away anytime soon. Anyone who uses the internet can be a victim of sextortion. It is the shame and fear of humiliation that drives victims into their innermost states of mind, causing stress, depression, and even suicide. It’s important to be aware of the dangers and take steps to protect yourself. If You Need Expert Advice or Service, Please Feel Free to Contact our Sextortion Helpline. Digital Forensics can help you right away. We can work on your case remotely, in-lab and onsite. Contact us or submit a case today to learn more about how we can help you to stop being the Victim.    


We offer immediate, 24/7 assistance from our team of investigators.


What is social media?

Social Media is one of the most popular ways to communicate with friends, family members and co-workers. More than four billion users around the world use social media daily! Social networking sites allow you quick electronic communication that can be done anywhere at anytime through your computer/tablet device or smartphone app for free web-based software

How to report sextortion?

If you are being extorted by a sextortionist, do not fall victim. Take action immediately and use any means at your disposal to report the crime as soon as possible so that law enforcement can track down those responsible for this malicious practice!

Most Effective Places to Report Sextortion

  • Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3),
  • Your local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Field Office,
  • National Center For Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC),
  • Your local authorities,
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB).
How to stop sextortion on Instagram?

If you find yourself targeted and harassed online, it’s important to know what NOT to do in order to protect yourself. Avoid the following:

1) Don’t respond or give any information that could be used against your wishes (including passwords). 2) Check for pop-up notifications on Instagram; these often appear when someone doesn’t want users accessing their account immediately after installation of a new app etc., but rather have time to prepare before opening.

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