Published on February 13th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Reddit ‘Reluctantly’ Bans Content Involving Minors, Web Gets All Sanctimonious
One of the more panicky issues on the web is any content relating to children- the piece of legislation that followed SOPA, ACTA, was wrapped in the guise of “protecting children,” seemingly to discourage questioning of its motives.
To be fair, child exploitation is a massive, tragic and destructive problem, and one of the more controversial corners of the web where such materials were said to be traded was a subreddit on Reddit known as r/jailbait. There were several offshoots of the subreddit, but that particular one was the most buzzed about and criticized across the web- and now Reddit has taken a far more hardline stance against the issue of “gray” material relating to minors on the site.
In a blog post, Reddit explains that while the site is concerned about censorship, the decision was not made lightly and ultimately boiled down to being able to vet content as thoroughly as is necessary:
We understand that this might make some of you worried about the slippery slope from banning one specific type of content to banning other types of content. We’re concerned about that too, and do not make this policy change lightly or without careful deliberation. We will tirelessly defend the right to freely share information on reddit in any way we can, even if it is offensive or discusses something that may be illegal. However, child pornography is a toxic and unique case for Internet communities, and we’re protecting reddit’s ability to operate by removing this threat. We remain committed to protecting reddit as an open platform.
Gawker’s Adrien Chen wasn’t impressed with the effort, and geek-slandered Reddit’s userbase for not demanding the action sooner:
That sentence excellently sums up the problem with the powerful hive mind spawned by Reddit, which has recently been praised widely for its role in helping to defeat SOPA. On Reddit, the entire universe is seen from the dementedly rational perspective of the white male geeks who created and dominate it. Humanity drops away, and exploiting kids is bad only to the extent it impinges on these dudes’ freedom to talk about video games.
However, before anyone wants to get up on their high horse like anyone is ever for kiddie porn- except NAMBLA- it seems that the policy change is merely autobanning content rather than doing it by hand. (Which hardly means Reddit was marching behind a “yay questionable content involving minors” banner.) Do you think Reddit’s effort to quell the trade of questionable material on the site was too little, too late, or was it appropriate to handle it case by case in the past?