September 8, 2014 3:20 pm

Reddit bans subgroup responsible for posting leaked celebrity photos

Reddit has banned the subgroup responsible for posting the leaked nude celebrity photos, after it became a destination for curious users to find the now infamous images.


TORONTO – Reddit has banned the subgroup responsible for posting leaked nude celebrity photos.

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The subreddit dubbed “The Fappening” – a masturbation reference – was used to upload leaked images of stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst. According to user reports, the forum was banned on Saturday.

In a detailed post published Sunday, a Reddit systems administrator explained that /r/TheFappening was banned after a long internal debate on how to cope with increasing amounts of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take down requests from content owners.

DMCA requires websites and other Internet service providers to remove a piece of content believed to be infringing on a copyright after being notified of a violation by the copyright owner.

READ MORE: Apple denies iCloud security flaw to blame for celebrity photo hack

However, because Reddit users continued to re-post the leaked images after administrators removed them, agreeing to the take down requests quickly became “a game of whack-a-mole” for administrators.

“It became obvious that we were either going to have to watch these subreddits constantly, or shut them down. We chose the latter,” he wrote.

“It’s obviously not going to solve the problem entirely, but it will at least mitigate the constant issues we were facing. This was an extreme circumstance, and we used the best judgement we could in response.”

The detailed explanation comes after an official blog post explaining Reddit’s decision to remove the celebrity content from its servers created confusion about why the subreddit was banned.

“While current U.S. law does not prohibit linking to stolen materials, we deplore the theft of these images and we do not condone their widespread distribution,” the blog stated.

READ MORE: US law doesn’t require websites to block nude photos stolen from stars

Meanwhile, the creator of /r/TheFappening participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) to defend his decision to create the subreddit.

“I created /r/TheFappening because I liked the name and checked if the sub was up, and when it wasn’t, I created it. I fully expected the sub to wane as time went on in popularity,” wrote the user who goes by the name johnsmcjohn.

“Banning it shocked me. Especially after all the traffic we’d had over the last week.”

The Redditor denied posting any of the photos.

These pics would be posted regardless and I tried to make sure my community was in line with Reddit’s rules,” he wrote. “I am not proud of it, and I don’t regret it. I registered a sub, and rode the wave all the way.”

Last week image-sharing forum 4chan, which is notorious for ignoring copyright laws, said it will also enact the DMCA policy and allow content owners to have their materials removed. Most of the nude celebrity photos were initially shared on 4chan’s /b/ discussion board and later spread to Reddit.

Apple confirmed that the images were stolen from celebrities’ iCloud accounts in targeted attacks.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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