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Reddit pledges privacy 7 months after celebrity nude photo leaks

Social network also agrees to champion diversity and safe spaces.


Reddit has pledged to champion privacy more than half a year after it became a central part of the iCloud celebrity photo hacking scandal.

In a blog post ahead of its tenth birthday, the content aggregator set out seven principles it would seek to uphold going forward, including a commitment to "respect anonymity and privacy".

Going into greater detail Reddit admins said users should not be required to share more than they are comfortable with and also claimed that "having information doesn’t give you a licence to use it".

"We value privacy, freedom of expression, open discussion, and humanity, and we want to make sure that we uphold these principles for all kinds of people," they said.

"We encourage all Redditors to join us in protecting these values and making Reddit a safe and positive community for everyone."

The position may well be contrasted to that adopted by the content aggregator as the news broke that naked photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Rihanna had leaked onto the Internet.

Though the source of the images was later attributed to 4chan, another anonymous online forum, a sub-forum on Reddit called The Fappening did much to popularise them, and remained open for a week despite calls to ban it.

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Reddit eventually removed the photos by invoking copyright issues, but the site’s then chief executive Yishan Wong defended the decision not to remove "questionable subreddits" as a commitment to upholding free speech.

Eventually a decision was made to shut The Fappening entirely because moderators could not keep up with the number of copyright violations.

The episode added to Reddit’s record of keeping open controversial subreddits, the site having already hosted forums promoting racism, depictions of violence against women and pictures of young girls.

Other principles in the Reddit manifesto include pledges to "champion diversity" and "create safe space to encourage participation", which perhaps reflecting interim CEO Ellen Pao, who just failed to win a gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

There is also a commitment to "allow freedom of expression", which Reddit has historically taken a hard line on, as well as business goals of experimenting and planning deliberately for the future.

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