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Reddit Plans to Take a Harder Line Against Nude Images

Protecting Digital Privacy


6 months ago, various portions of the internet caught fire as a series of nude images of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and several other celebrities appeared on Reddit. These images were acquired unlawfully, implemented nefariously and the backlash that Reddit (and online culture at large) weathered in the wake of the incident was sizable.

At the time, the Reddit CEO Yishan Wong refused to shoulder any blame for what happened, belaying suggestions that the site’s structure made it far too easy for this kind of thing to happen.

"You choose what to post. You choose what to read. You choose what kind of subreddit to create and what kind of rules you will enforce. We will try not to interfere - not because we don’t care, but because we care that you make your choices between right and wrong." - Yishan Wong

Wong isn't there anymore, and now the site’s co-founder and executive chairman Alexis Ohanian is spearheading an initiative to make sure nothing of the sort ever happens again.

"No matter who you are, if a photograph, video, or digital image of you in a state of nudity, sexual excitement, or engaged in any act of sexual conduct, is posted or linked to on Reddit without your permission, it is prohibited on Reddit.” Ohanian wrote, in a post outlining the new policy. “We also recognize that violent personalized images are a form of harassment that we do not tolerate, and we will remove them when notified."

In short, if a nude or in any way sexually explicit image turns up on Reddit without the consent of the subject, it’s no longer allowed and it will swiftly get taken down. The policy also covers ‘violent personalized images’, as they can be viewed as a form of threat. Until ‘The Fappening’ as it was disturbingly titled by some rather tragic individuals, Reddit maintained quite a healthy reputation for post quality, one which it clearly intends to reclaim.

This policy-change comes in tandem with an initiative by Google to crack down on sexually explicit content on Blogger. The privacy policy regulations have been tweaked in such a way that now all sexually explicit blogs will automatically be made private, thus making their content visible only to the owner, the administrators and whomever the owner decides to share the blog with. Nudity will still be admissible, but only "if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts," That will, of course, be up to the administrators to decide.

While this move is more about lining up Blogger with Google’s other appendages, like YouTube, it’s indicative of an internet-wide dissatisfaction with the way privacy and potentially offensive content are addressed, with Twitter also recently coming under fire for repeated incidents of verbal abuse. The step by Reddit is a small one, but hopefully it was set an example for the other platforms out there.

Update: Google have since reversed their decision regarding sexually explicit content on Blogger within just three days citing criticism from bloggers about the issue. We'll bring you more as we know.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Reddit Plans to Take a Harder Line Against Nude Images Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, March 03, 2015 Rating: 5
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