Reddit changes illicit photo policy

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

After months of controversy surrounding leaked photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Reddit has finally adjusted its policy concerning online nude photos.

Following the recent actions of Google, after Mar. 10, Reddit will allow users to get flagged photos or videos of themselves removed following a basic appeal process which Reddit guarantees will be more effective in controlling the nude photos and ‘revenge-porn’ that has been circulating on sites all over the internet.

Despite an optimistic outlook in regards to its new online policy, various critics have claimed that it will do little to address the issue of preventing further damage in regard to currently circulating nude photos.

“The internet has no delete button,” said Carmi Levy, a technology analyst with voices.com in an interview with CBC. “So once something goes online chances are it’s going to pop up elsewhere. It is very much like a game of whack-a-mole – trying to find out where else it popped up and trying to get ahead of it”.

As Levy notes, despite Reddit being more accessible and accountable for its content, removing images from one site which started these trends of nude images will do little to halt the spread of malicious photos. People who unfortunately had their images posted will still need to remain constantly alert, emailing countless sites and petitioning to have their intimate pictures removed.

“If you are a victim of having something posted about you against your will, there really isn’t a whole lot you can do,” said Levy. “You can’t simply go online and look for photos of yourself. Unless it’s properly tagged, you might never even know. It’s a very frightening place to be.”

While Levy has openly criticized Reddit’s policy, she has still commended Reddit for trying to solve such a rather complicated problem.

“It’s an admirable effort by both Reddit and Google to get ahead of a problem that has become very significant in recent years. Unfortunately, because of the way the internet is structured, it really is little more than wrapping paper.”

Prior to the various celebrity scandals, Reddit chose to allow its roughly 160 million users to dictate their own standards, with forums being policed by users except for the obvious rules of no spam of child pornography allowed.

Following the Jennifer Lawrence scandal, Reddit received heavy criticism for leaving up multiple nude images of celebrities, with the most vocal critics claiming that Reddit made enough money off of its ‘leaked’ celebrity photos to keep its servers running for upwards of a month alone.

According to Reddit, its new policy is “one more step in the right direction, stating that further information would be disclosed in its yearly privacy report”.

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