It's an important and long-awaited change for the company, which has struggled since its launch to balance its fierce support of free speech with the protection of its users and, in many cases, the legal reality of hosting stolen and illegal content.
Of course, the announcement is the easy part. Now Reddit must begin the painstaking process of having to process and execute takedown requests from the site's over 9,000 communities. And while many of the realities of that process won't begin to fully present themselves until it begins in earnest, BuzzFeed News had a few questions for the site.
Update: Reddit replied! Answers are below. Mostly.
1. Will users have to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requests or can they simply email the Reddit address?
Reddit: A DMCA is easier for us but we aren't requiring it.
2. Will users need to meet a certain standard of proof — or will requests immediately trigger a takedown?
Reddit: We are not going to require proof. That is salt in the wound to someone going through the process of removing images like this. It's often not limited to reddit and is rather difficult. The requests will be treated individually and not trigger an automatic takedown.
3. Why not require proven consent for anything posted?
Reddit did not an answer this.
4. How do you verify lack of consent?
Reddit did not answer this either.
5. Will Reddit provide the IP address of the offender's account to victims and/or law enforcement?
Reddit: Our responses to law enforcement are detailed in our transparency report. We will not release any private information without the proper legal request.
6. How many staffers will be assigned to monitor the firstname.lastname@example.org email address?
This, too, was a question Reddit did not answer.
7. How many takedowns does the site feel confident it can process daily?
Reddit: We don't receive very many and are not really seeing this as something that will increase it greatly.
8. Will takedowns apply to all nude photos or just those that are explictly designated as revenge porn?
Reddit: if it reported to us as posted without consent, it will be addressed by the team on an individual basis. Since revenge porn is not the only cause of involuntary posting of nude or sexual images, we are not requiring that as criteria for the takedown.
9. Will only certain subreddits be policed for this content or can it come from any subreddit?
Reddit: We will not be policing any subreddits. We need to be notified of the image.
10. What are the penalties for users who violate these new terms?
Reddit: The only penalty is having the post removed. If you become a chronic abuser and break the rules of reddit repeatedly, your account may be affected.
11. Is there any statute of limitations for this policy — are users who posted photos that violate this policy before February 24th 2015 subject to penalties for posting violating content in the years since Reddit's launch?
Reddit: See above regarding penalties.
12. Will Reddit have any technology once a violating picture has been identified to make sure the picture isn't reposted?
Reddit: As we announced today, we're working on a variety of tools to help our community team, as well as our volunteer moderators, run their communities better and easier. There's a lot in the works, but nothing we're ready to announce aside from what we're announcing today.
Ohanian responded to BuzzFeed News' request to say that Reddit's community lead would be getting in touch with a full response. Until then, Ohanian expressed his excitement to get the process under way. "Personally glad to see that everyone has responded so well to this and I'm hopeful other sites will follow suit. This is just one step on the journey of taking our platform of over 9,000 communities to many, many more!" he said.
BuzzFeed News will update this post with responses from Reddit when we receive them.
Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
Contact Charlie Warzel at email@example.com.
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