The XX Factor

What Dudes Are Doing On Facebook

If it hadn’t been true before, it’s certainly true now: Facebook has become the stomping grounds of the usual hucksters of the Internet who are reaching into men’s pants in order to pull out some coins. New software that purports to use image editing to “undress” pictures of your friends on Facebook is being marketed, and even though there’s exactly zero chance that it produces anything close to a realistic image, I’m going to guess it sells well. Because when it comes to getting off, hope so often trumps reason. And there are definitely dudes out there getting off on Facebook.

Last April, I wrote a piece for the Daily Beast about the widespread secret of Facebook, which is that a chunk of its traffic, probably an uncomfortably large chunk, involves men looking at pictures of women for masturbatory purposes. After all, the single most common activity on Facebook is men looking at pictures of women , and while I’m sure some of that is perfectly innocent, much of it is not. It’s not the most comfortable thought in the world. Facebook is about linking up with friends and isn’t especially pornographic, after all, so the allure of using it for sexual purposes is that you know the women in the pictures. Social networking is voyeuristic by nature, and so turning that into a turn-on was inevitable. But, as I noted last year, this probably falls into the “no harm, no foul” zone of social networking. It’s just the same as thinking about that person in your head, but with visual aids.

Of course, using crappy software to make someone look fake-naked isn’t a greater violation, so long as the veil of secrecy continues to be pulled around this activity. But I’d still advise against it, for two reasons. One is simply aesthetic. It may be fun while you’re doing it, but after all is said and done, the crappiness of it will haunt you in the same way crying at Titanic or enjoying the Black Eyed Peas will haunt you for the rest of your life. But more importantly, if you create images of people that are fake-naked, those could get out in the world in the same way that actual nude pictures inevitably do.  And then you would have crossed the line from having a private moment to actually harming an innocent person. So my advice to anyone tempted to buy this is to save your money and keep these images to your imagination.