A week after Jennifer Lawrence and countless other celebrities had their privacy rights violated by hackers, Reddit has moved to ban the subreddit that was a home to many of the stolen photos. "The Fappening" was set up by Reddit user johnsmcjohn In a blog post called "Every Man Is Responsible For His Own Soul", Reddit stated that "while current US law does not prohibit linking to stolen materials, we deplore the theft of these images and we do not condone their widespread distribution."
Reddit then confused the issue somewhat with an update to their statement that said:
"This blog post is not an explanation for why /r/TheFappening was banned. It is an explanation for why we will not ban questionable subreddits, of which /r/TheFappening is one of them. What happened is that we wrote the blog post, and at approximately the same time, activity in that subreddit starting violating other rules we have which do trigger a ban, so we banned it."
Reddit then linked to a more detailed explanation in which it confirmed that traffic as a result of hosting the nudes increased to the point that it nearly broke the site. It was the fastest growing subreddit in history.
The morally questionable subreddits on the site are a source of constant debate, but Reddit is adamant that they will only take down groups that violate US law. Many subreddits are deeply shocking in their content, some examples being:
The existence of these subreddits indicates that the site has blurred lines on free speech. While Reddit prides itself on being a non-judgemental, non-interfering sharing platform, there is in fact behaviour that it won't tolerate. The subreddits "hiddencam" and "creepshots" are both banned, along with "The Fappening", speculated to have been taken down after it was revealed that the naked shots of Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney were taken when she was under the age of consent, meaning that anyone sharing them could face child pornography charges.
However, in its statement, Reddit said "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. Virtuous behaviour is only virtuous if it is not arrived at by compulsion. This is a central idea of the community we are trying to create."
What do you think of Reddit's policies? Should its deep, dark corners be shut down or do you think censoring violates free speech and contradicts the ethos of the internet?