Foxtel faces social media backlash with Australia’s #NextTopPredator hashtag

CaitlinA Fox8 social media promotion for Australia’s Next Top Model urging people to take ‘selfies’ and post them on Instagram is facing a social media backlash by a group of feminist activists launching the hashtag Australia’s #NextTopPredator to counter the competition.

The activists, who include social commentator Melinda Tankard Reist, claim girls, as young as nine, are posting images of themselves in sexual poses and are instead urging people to enter the competition with positive messages.

“Research by the Internet Watch Foundation tells us that 88 per cent of self made images posted by girls online are captured sent to porn websites,” claimed Tankard Reist. “They are snatched and captured and sent to what are known as parasite pornsites. “These girls have no idea that their images could be going there and here is Australia’s Next Top Model is soliciting this.”

Under the rules of the competition any Australian resident can enter the competition. Those under the age of 18 must have parental permission. To date there have been more than 50,000 entries in the competition.

As part of the competition there is also a moderated live feed of the images from the competition which is being posted to the ANTM home page.

Top modelHowever, a search of the competition hashtag #antmselfie on Twitter and Instagram shows that among the entries from adults are images of girls who have entered the competition as as young as eight or nine dressed in swim suits and other revealing clothing.

“They’re got some rules about who can enter the competition but they’re not stopping young girls from just sending entries in and they not deleting them,” said Tankard Reist.

“The images are all over Instagram and so we decided to engage in some culture jamming in creating our own hashtag and sending out positive messages to girls.


Entries on the rival #nexttoppredator hashtag


Entries on the rival #nexttoppredator hashtag

A spokesman for Fox8 said: “There’s no doubt that the socially engaged fans of Australia’s Next Top Model have embraced Australia’s Next Top Selfie. The “selfie” is a global social media phenomenon that is fun and light-hearted – just like this promotion,” said the Fox8 spokesman.

Tankard Reist said: “The response is devoid of any sense of responsibility for facilitating and enabling this.”

Tankard Reist has shown images to Mumbrella entered for the competition featuring girls clearly only in their early teens which are not appropriate for re-publication here.

Nic Christensen


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