Reddit was sued for failing to remove photos of child pornography revenge porn

Reddit was sued for failing to remove photos of child pornography revenge porn

A victim of revenge porn has sued the portal after years of monitoring subreddits for intimate photos from her underage shared by her ex-boyfriend. Important news on content moderation could come from the evolution of this case

(photo: Avishek Das / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images) Reddit was sued by a person for allowing her ex-boyfriend to post repeatedly, and without her consent, pornographic images of her at the age of 16. The woman - who has been given the pseudonym Jane Doe to protect her identity - said that "Reddit knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content policies, including for child pornography."

According to the complaint filed, the woman's ex-boyfriend allegedly began posting sexually-motivated photos and videos on Reddit that he had captured without the victim's knowledge and consent at the teenage time.

At the time the content of revenge porn was identified by the woman on Reddit, the latter contacted the moderators of the portal asking for their immediate removal. In response, the victim was told that she would have to wait "several days" before the contents were blacked out and removed. Meanwhile, the portal continued to allow the ex-boyfriend to post images and videos with a new profile created specifically after Reddit had banned the one she had acted with until then.

“Since Reddit refused to help, it was Jane Doe's turn to monitor no less than 36 subreddits - those she is aware of - that Reddit has allowed her ex-boyfriend to repeatedly use to post child pornography content ”, reads the complaint. Reddit's refusal to act therefore forced the victim to spend hours examining some of the more explicit subreddits in order to identify the posts containing her images as a minor, then initiating a dispute with the platform to be able to remove them.

The woman is now trying to form a class action that represents other victims of similar events who have seen their intimate, non-consensual photos taken when they were minors uploaded to Reddit.

The complaint filed with the court of the Central District of California, accuses Reddit of distributing child pornography material, of failing to report such material, and of violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It is not clear whether the ex-boyfriend - who would be fully responsible for the publication of the images - was sued or criminally charged, but in any case the decision could set an important precedent in the evolution of the debate on the legal responsibility of the companies of the tech about content removal.

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