Two tech giants have announced a similar move. Reddit, a well-known social-networking and news website, claimed that it would remove nude pictures, videos and links to them if the person featured there has not given permission to post them. Google follows the move and is also going to remove most nude photos and video from publicly accessible websites on its Blogger service.
Industry experts admitted that such move would mark a shift in attitude for the services that used to be freewheeling forums. However, the lax approach encouraged users to post nude and sexually explicit images and video on Reddit and Blogger – even if people featured in the pictures wanted them to remain private.
Previously, Reddit has had a hands-off approach to privacy. The company traditionally allowed its 160m users to police their own forums, setting only general guidelines, including ban of child porn or spam. The move came about half a year after the hackers obtained nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities and posted them to various social media websites, including Reddit.
At the time, Jennifer Lawrence criticized the websites that allowed nude photos of her to be posted, though she didn’t specifically call out Reddit. She called the illegal use of photos of her body a “sex crime”. The recent announcement made by Reddit interim CEO and other company executives explained that the shift was an effort to help grow the website for the next decade and beyond. Starting from 10 March, the service will ban any pictures or videos of a nude person or the one engaged in a sexual act if they have not given permission for it to be posted. All victims of revenge porn who want images of themselves removed from Reddit can contact the technical support service.
Reddit was spun off from Conde Nast’s Wired Digital three years ago. It new policy on explicit content was announced on the opening day of a high-profile case launched by its interim CEO, claiming that she was a victim of sexual discrimination while working at one of Silicon Valley’s famous venture capital companies – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She is now seeking $16 million in damages, while the accused company has denied the allegations.
In the meantime, Google’s Blogger service warns its users they have until 23 March to remove sexually explicit or nude pictures from their websites, otherwise those will be switched to private mode and access to them will be restricted both for the owner of the blog and users who have received an invitation to visit it. Starting from the same date, Blogger will only allow most nude images to be posted to private websites, except for special circumstances.
As for other popular social media services, they all have varying policies on nudity. For instance, Facebook bans images containing nudity altogether. As for Twitter, the service does not mediate legitimate content. However, it recommends to mark content with nudity or violence as sensitive and allows users flag questionable content for review.