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In major shift, Reddit cracks down on stolen nudes and revenge porn

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And it's about damn time

After years of taking a hands-off approach to nude photos posted without their subjects' permission, Reddit today put new restrictions on explicit content. Beginning March 10th, Reddit users can no longer post nude photos or pictures of sex acts without subjects' consent. The move comes in the face of widespread criticism following last year's leak of hundreds of nude celebrity photos, many of which were hosted and gleefully discussed on Reddit forums. And it represents a major shift in policy for the crowdsourced news and commentary site, which has previously left it to forum moderators to decide what could and could not be posted there.

The move came after a discussion at a recent company meeting, according to a notice posted on Reddit about the new policy. "Last year, we missed a chance to be a leader in social media when it comes to protecting your privacy —something we've cared deeply about since Reddit's inception," read the post, which was signed by top company executives. "At our recent all hands company meeting, this was something that we all, as a company, decided we needed to address."

"Last year, we missed a chance to be a leader."

Some users — particularly those who had their nude photos posted on Reddit without their consent — will laugh ruefully at the idea that Reddit "cared deeply" about their privacy. While it's true that Reddit policies generally prohibit the posting of personal information about users, those same policies turned a blind eye to stolen nudes and revenge porn.

The result was a system where Reddit protected the person posting the stolen nudes more than it did the victim of the theft. "I really want to believe that as we enter the next 10 years of Reddit life, essentially the most trafficked media site on the internet, the opportunity here to set a standard for respecting the privacy of our users," Alexis Ohanian, Reddit's co-founder and executive chairman, told the paper. (Ohanian hosts a show on The Verge.)

As part of its updated privacy policy, Reddit will also offer tutorials to moderators on how to create "a more positive environment," the company told The New York Times. Reddit has hired a "head of community" to work with the volunteer moderators, the Times said.