“We have very few rules here on Reddit; no spamming, no cheating, no personal info, nothing illegal, and no interfering the site’s functions,” read a post on the site’s blog Sunday. “Today we are adding another rule.”
The post noted that Reddit has dealt with content that “might be child pornography” by complying with legal guidelines and reporting procedures outlined by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
However, “beyond these clear cut cases, there is a huge area of legally grey content, and our previous policy to deal with it on a case by case basis has become unsustainable. We have changed our policy because interpreting the vague and debated legal guidelines on a case by case basis has become a massive distraction and risks Reddit being pulled in to legal quagmire.” The site is calling on its users to flag such content.
The post did not specify which subreddit prompted the move, but Erik Martin, general manager for Reddit, says that outrage over a subreddit called /r/preteen_girls was the tipping point, confirming a report in The Daily Dot. Reddit also recently shut down another subreddit called /r/jailbait. “Most of the things were — well, depending on your definition of the law — not illegal,” Martin says, referring to the “preteen girls” subreddit. But Martin says the site didn’t want to be consumed with what might cross the line. Martin says that the Reddit community has been accepting of the changes, though some are worried they might lead to more interference over content, a concern that Martin says is unfounded.
Reddit, which hit 2 billion pageviews and more than 30 million unique visitors in December, isn’t the first Internet property to grapple with putting limits on free speech. Craigslist has censored content including a section of its site that was believed to be used for prostitution.
What do you think? Did Reddit make the right move? Sound off in the comments.