Finally, in a show of solidarity (read: they couldn't be arsed wading through the legal battlefield) Reddit have deleted the thread known as The Fappening, which was playing host to the celebrity nude pictures recently hacked from the phones of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and others.
thefappening was a subReddit, a sub-thread created on Reddit where the hacker threatened to post a) more photos and b) a Jennifer Lawrence sex video, provided enough people donated money to a PayPal account he'd set up. Unfortunately, the fact the thread has been deleted hardly means the pics won't pop up somewhere else, and has pretty much enraged die-hard Redditors who believe this infringes their freedom of speech. Poor lambs.
Releasing a statement, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong seemed as though he was apologising, but it wasn't really an apology at all. He's just pissed that the owners of the pics kept slapping takedown copyright requests on them, which Reddit didn't have the manpower to keep on top of:
'The situation we had in our hands was the following: These subreddits were of course the focal point for the sharing of these stolen photos. The images which were DMCAd [Digital Millenium Copyright Act: a takedown request] were continually being reposted constantly on the subreddit. We would takedown images (thumbnails) in response to those DMCAs, but it quickly devolved into a game of whack-a-mole. We'd execute a takedown, someone would adjust, reupload, and then repeat. This same practice was occurring with the underage photos, requiring our constant intervention.'
He went on to reassure the Redditors who are all upset because their freedom to distribute illegal images taken off some poor woman's phone has been revoked: 'We understand the harm that misusing our site does to the victims of this theft, and we deeply sympathise. Having said that, we are unlikely to make changes to our existing site content policies in response to this specific event,'.
Basically, there are loads of gross subreddits still in action; for every kangabros (seriously, it's one of the best things on the internet) there's a photoplunder (nudes or bikini shots hacked from people's private Photo Buckets) or a candidfashionpolice (basically just upskirt shots) that nobody's going to do anything about. Because that's the point of Reddit and 4chan (where the photos originally appeared); they're free from rules and restrictions which brings out both the best of the internet, and it's absolute worst.
'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,' said Wong. '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.'
Well thanks for that, Reddit. Good to know that you've left the internet's moral compass in the hands of the internet. Because that worked really well last week, didn't it?
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.