On Wednesday, Reddit shut down a subreddit called Deepfake, which refers to the practice of using face-swap technology to create pornography featuring celebrities. They have banned “deepfake” porn from the site entirely.
The Washington Post reports that the move follows Pornhub’s decision to ban the practice; the platform said it violates their rules against “nonconsensual content or revenge porn.” The Deepfake subreddit now features a similar warning from Reddit, which reads, “This subreddit was banned due to a violation of our content policy, specifically our policy against involuntary pornography.”
The move against deepfake porn has been seen on other platforms. Twitter banned it on Tuesday, Motherboard reports:
“We will suspend any account we identify as the original poster of intimate media that has been produced or distributed without the subject’s consent,” a Twitter spokesperson told me in an email. “We will also suspend any account dedicated to posting this type of content.”
In January, gaming site Discord and the GIF creator Gfycat also banned deepfakes. If these seem like random platforms to be dealing with an explosion of fake-face porn, it’s probably because this isn’t technology that requires a fancy production studio. Random jerks can do it in their basement, too! Many face-swapping technologies are open source, but it was a Reddit user named “deepfakes” that made them especially popular and accessible in the last year, after producing videos featuring Taylor Swift and Gal Gadot.
It’s unclear how face-swap porn will be treated going forward, as legislators are still struggling with how to classify or prosecute the much more straightforward act of revenge porn. According to a piece from Wired on the trend, deepfakes are often defended as satire, since they’re not using someone’s real body—though there is of course an adult performer being erased in this process as well. Victims of deepfake could potentially sue under anti-defamation laws, but regulating the distribution of this kind of pornography certainly begins with limiting the platforms that host them.