The Fappening is officially over on Reddit, and some Redditors are not happy about it.
According to Business Insider, The Fappening subreddit was one of the internet forums where users shared the stolen nude photos of dozens of celebrity phone hacking victims. Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton were two of the main targets of the hackers responsible for procuring the pictures.
Reddit’s trouble began when moderators on The Fappening subreddit learned that McKayla Maroney was underage in her nude photos, and a notice was put up on the subreddit stating that all photos of the gymnast would be removed. The lawyers for some of the celebrity victims also tried to keep their clients’ nude photos off of Reddit by copyrighting the pictures and threatening to take legal action against anyone sharing them.
Reddit issued a statement explaining why the site made the decision to ban The Fappening subreddit and other similar subreddits where the nude photos were being shared.
“Last weekend, reddit was used as one of the primary centers of distribution of private and unlawfully obtained images of celebrities.”
“In accordance with our legal obligations, we expeditiously removed content hosted on our servers as soon as we received DMCA requests from the lawful owners of that content, and in cases where the images were not hosted on our servers, we promptly directed them to the hosts of those services.”
“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.”
Many Redditors responded to the banning of The Fappening by pointing to other subreddits that are allowed to exist event though they contain extremely disturbing content. Their lists included subreddits with titles like “Cute Female Corpses,” “Sexy Abortions,” “Self Harm Pics,” and “Pics of Dead Kids.”
The banning backlash soon spilled over onto Twitter.
Still not defending /r/TheFappening, but hard to reconcile banning one subreddit for “illegal content” while leaving /r/SexWithDogs intact.
— Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) September 7, 2014
While browsing reddit and the news about the remove of the fappening, I stumbled across more desensitizing material. I can’t unsee them.
— K Tran (@kvt__) September 7, 2014
reddit bans “the fappening” subreddit. Good thing there’s still “white rights”, “sexy abortions” and “watch people die” subreddits.
— BK (@reemusk) September 7, 2014
@CNN you got fappening banned how about some of the real trash /r/sexyabortions /r/rapingwomen /r/killingwomen/r/beatingwomen2 continued
— RD20 (@RDash20) September 7, 2014
Reddit CEO Yishan Wong offered an explanation for why The Fappening was banned while subreddits featuring racist remarks, photos of dead bodies, and other disturbing material are allowed to remain on the site. He responded to the backlash on Reddit.
“We don’t ban subreddits for being morally bad. We DO ban subreddits for breaking our rules, and one of them is repeatedly and primarily being a place where people post copyrighted material for which valid DMCA requests are being received.”
One of the top comments in response to Yishan Wong’s blog post pointed out the hypocrisy in banning nude photos of celebrities but allowing pictures of other clueless victims to remain on the site.
“In other words, it’s still totally okay to humiliate people on reddit as long as they aren’t rich/famous/able to sue.”
One Redditor mentioned the “Photo Plunder” subreddit. It’s exactly the same as The Fappening, but its photos come from “normal people who don’t have lawyers to save them.”
Redditors make a good argument, but not in the way they think. They’re trying to use their horrific subreddit examples as an argument for bringing back The Fappening subreddit. However, it’s obvious that the site just needs to be moderated better, and it looks like there needs to be a mass banning of other subreddits that feature content that’s most likely illegal.
Do you think Reddit made the right move by banning The Fappening?