'Tube crush' website featuring photos of 'attractive' men on London Underground sparks privacy row

A “ Tube crush” website where passengers secretly capture and rate photos of men they find “attractive” while riding the London Underground has sparked a privacy row - writes standard.co.uk.

The TubeCrush.net site asks commuters to send in photos of “good-looking” men that they have spotted during their journeys across the capital.

But the online platform has sparked concerns over privacy, while other critics have called out the site for sexism towards men.

Steve Motion, the website’s founder, defended the concept and said that if a person asks to have their photo removed, there is a mechanism in place to enable them to do so.

He also said that "it is different in our society for a woman to have her picture taken compared to a man.

TubeCrush.net: Passengers are asked to submit photos of men they find "attractive" when they're travelling on the London Underground( TubeCrush )

Privacy International PI Solicitor Millie Graham Wood said "Apps like TubeCrush may give the appearance of being innocuous and harmless. That is rarely the case where data is the new oil and we are the product."

He continued: "We note with serious concern that rather than address the very real and worrying privacy issues arising from this website and app, the privacy policy abdicates responsibility and fails to address the infringements on individual privacy. Further, they create an onerous process for individuals to remove their data."

Harry Janes, 23, was one of the menfeatured on the site. He said that he was informed about the picture by a friend of a girl he was seeing at the time.

He said: “To be totally honest I thought it was absolutely hysterical. I'm not particularly sensitive so it was really just water off a ducks back. It did make me question what else might be lurking on the Internet that you don't necessarily know is there though."

When asked whether or not he felt the picture was a breach of his privacy he said: “At the time, no, I thought it was funny. Looking back though, it’s incredibly creepy. I have absolutely no recollection of even where I was going the day it was posted, but the fact that it’s obviously been documented, posted and commented on I find slightly odd.”

One man who was pictured on the site described it as 'creepy' ( TubeCrush )

He said that he thought that the website was controversial and that it would not be as well received if it “focused on the objectification of women on the tube”.

Mr Motion, Founder of Tube Crush said that if a person asks to have their photo removed there is a mechanism in place to enable them to do so.

"If someone wants their photo removed we will 100 per cent take it down." He said.

He also noted that since the site launched in 2011 he has had only 20 people request to have their photo removed.

On Twitter people were quick to call out the site for encouraging sexism against men.

Fortuna Copia wrote: “The non-consent aspect of your work is worrying. Why encourage? You're not exactly helping gender parity by reducing one gender to silent objects are you? Very counterproductive.

The ratings of men on your site are mostly negative too so not positive is it.”

One user wrote: “If Men uploaded pictures of Women to an app to rate their attractiveness; they would be slaughtered. Yet it’s okay for Women to do on this Tubecrush app? The World is losing it’s sense.”

Another man Tony Lauder said that he “didn’t see anything wrong” with the site and that it inspired him to go to the gym.

Author and journalist Mark Simpson, who coined the term metro sexual and recently wrote a book about the objectification of men said: "Male objectification seems to be an unstoppable force." However he did say that for some young men "being a 'sex object' can be pleasurable, powerful and even money-making."

He continued: "If TubeCrush were pictures of attractive women that men were admiring on the sly then it would cause a scandal. Personally though I don't think this is a reason to pretend to be scandalised by TubeCrush."

Mr Motion responded to claims that the site encourages reverse sexism.

He said that when he founded the site he did consider including pictures of women on the tube, however after doing some research and discovering similar sites which had encouraged harassment of women he decided against it.

Mr Motion said: "I think it is different in our society for a woman to have her picture taken compared to a man".

He noted that the over all response from men who have appeared on TubeCrush has been positive and that some were flattered. However, he said that when did some market research into whether or not women would want to be photographed, the majority of the women that he asked said they would not be comfortable with that.

He said: "Until there is a change in equilibrium when it comes to gender in society, it will be hard to have a site celebrating a woman's appearance without making women feel uncomfortable."

TubeCrush has proved to be extremely popular since its launch in 2011 and has 11,000 likes on Facebook, 10,000 followers on Twitter and it recently launched on Instagram.

The website claims to have been set up to “celebrate” the “attractiveness of strangers” on the Tube.

Read more news of London on our site.

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