Nearly a week after the massive leak of stolen, nude celebrity photos started flooding onto Reddit—an event Redditors crudely referred to as (sigh) "the fappening,"—the link-sharing site has shut down the subreddit that had been the center of the nude photo-sharing activity.
So, basically, those who wanted to, had a good six and a half days to link to the stolen photos on the site, which equals roughly about a billion years in Internet creep time.
The leak of the photos is believed to have originally began on 4chan, of course, but things really spread off once the private photos made their way to the more mainstream Reddit, where a user created r/TheFappening, specifically to link to the leaked photos.
Reddit has now banned r/TheFappening and related subreddits. In a blog post titled Every Man Is Responsible For His Own Soul Reddit CEO Yishan Wong defended the site's choice not to immediately ban subreddits such as r/TheFappening just because they're deplorable, and explained that when the stolen photos were on Reddit's servers, they were taken down in accordance with the law.
"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."
Later, he basically explains that Reddit is just a tool, a tool that users can use it for evil. If they want to, that's on them. History has, of course, shown that they often will.
We uphold the ideal of free speech on reddit as much as possible not because we are legally bound to, but because we believe that you - the user - has the right to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and that it is your responsibility to do so. When you know something is right, you should choose to do it. But as much as possible, we will not force you to do it.
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.
So if they're defending their right to keep the subreddits open, why did they decide to ban r/TheFappening late Saturday night? Another post from Reddit systems administrator alienth explains that the site's users were working so hard to keep posting thumbnails that violated the law, that it was just too hard for Reddit to police all the copyright issues.
"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," alienth wrote. "It became obvious that we were either going to have to watch these subreddits constantly, or shut them down. We chose the latter."
Anyway, the guy who started r/TheFappening, Reddit user johnsmcjohn, is not pleased at all about the shutdown, pointing out that the subreddit generated a ton of traffic for Reddit before it was shut down:
"I don't want reddit to fold to the lawyers of these celebs. If they'd banned my sub on Monday (a day after the leak happened), I would be okay with it. But, they waited a week and had more than a quarter billion page views before they banned me. "
Gotta say, as creepy as a dude is who passionately claims to have "sacrificed" to maintain a page where people's most intimate privacies are repeatedly violated, he kind of has a point.
[Via Daily Dot]