Six months after stolen nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and many other celebrities flooded Reddit's pages, the site has chosen to update its guidelines, making it clear that any photos not posted with the consent of the subject will be removed.
On Tuesday the site released a statement about the new changes and announced that the revisions to its digital privacy guidelines will be instated on March 10th.
"No matter who you are, if a photograph, video, or digital image of you in a state of nudity, sexual excitement, or engaged in any act of sexual conduct, is posted or linked to on Reddit without your permission, it is prohibited," the company's top executives wrote in a post. "We also recognize that violent personalized images are a form of harassment that we do not tolerate and we will remove them when notified."
That sounds good so far, but I can see how it might be difficult to enforce. Will Reddit be taking the word of anyone who emails support and asks for a photo to be taken down or will they require proof and what happens when another large-scale leak occurs? Will the photos be taken down immediately? Will users be banned? Will Reddit log IPs (or do anything else — logging IPs is just the only thing I know in terms of finding out who's on the site) to help prosecute the individuals stealing and sharing nude photos?
Of course, this is a start and the announcement is a welcome one. As Mashable notes, many were confused when Reddit's CEO Yishan Wong put out a statement defending free speech in the wake of the leaked photos, which were, despite his assertion that "every man is responsible for his soul," taken down very quickly.
The most recent statement, written by interim CEO Ellen Pao and executive chairman Alexis Ohanian, notes that Reddit made a mistake with their handling of the stolen photos and acknowledges that the site needs to do better.
"Last year, we missed a chance to be a leader in social media when it comes to protecting your privacy — something we've cared deeply about since reddit's inception," Ohanian and Pao wrote in the post explaining the changes Tuesday.
"At our recent all-hands company meeting, this was something that we all, as a company, decided we needed to address."
The new guidelines are just the beginning, according to Ohanian. When they're implemented, Reddit will continue doing its best to protect everyone in the Reddit community, regardless of whether they're someone in Idaho or a mega celebrity. Unfortunately, this doesn't bring as much comfort as one would hope, considering how vague the guidelines are and how big Reddit's community is.
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