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Celebrity Photo Subreddits Banned In The Wake Of Last Week’s Theft

Welcome to our continuing coverage of "The Worst Month On The Internet."


A brief refresher, for those of you just now tuning into this ugly mess: Last week, nearly two hundred private photos (many of them nude) were stolen from dozens of celebrities’ iCloud accounts. The photos made their way to Reddit, where they gained particular traction in a subreddit known as “The Fappening.” Yesterday, this particular subreddit — as well as a number of related subs — was banned. If you know anything about Reddit’s firm support for questionable content, it will come as no surprise that this is a big deal in that corner of the internet.

There was some initial confusion regarding the justification for the ban, stemming in part from a blog post by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong. The post, which discussed why Reddit allows “morally objectionable” content (when legal), went up right about the same time that the plug got pulled on The Fappening. Reddit community manager Lisa Liebig (aka sporkicide) explained that the ban was due to uncontrollable reposting of the stolen images, which undermined Reddit’s ability to comply with DCMA takedown requests. Additionally, many of the images being posted were of underage individuals.

We understand that the moderators did the best they could with the situation at hand, but having users purposefully try and circumvent the takedowns was starting to become a whack-a-mole game…In addition to that, other users were rehosting the images on pay-per-click sites and sites that spread malware (which resulted in bans of many domains and users). These factors led us to decide that the subreddit and many of its sister-subreddits were in violation of rule five of the site, “don’t…do anything that interferes with normal use of the site.”

To further clear things up, Reddit sysadmin Jason Harvey (aka alienth) wrote a lengthy blow-by-blow, detailing how the onslaught of reposting was not only creating an ethical and legal dilemma, but was making the site unstable due to the huge influx of traffic.

The mods were doing their best to keep things under control and in line with the site rules, but problems were still constantly overflowing back to us. Additionally, many nefarious parties recognized the popularity of these images, and started spamming them in various ways and attempting to infect or scam users viewing them. It became obvious that we were either going to have to watch these subreddits constantly, or shut them down. We chose the latter. It’s obviously not going to solve the problem entirely, but it will at least mitigate the constant issues we were facing. This was an extreme circumstance, and we used the best judgement we could in response.

So there you go. I’m sure this will end quietly.

(via Re/code)

Previously in Human Beings Being Horrible To Each Other

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