Reddit faces a lawsuit over sexually stimulating images of a minor.
A woman who only identified Jane Doe is suing Reddit for allowing her ex-boyfriend to post pornographic pictures of her when she was 16. According to their lawsuit, “Reddit knowingly benefits from the lax enforcement of its content policies, including child pornography.” She claimed that two years ago, in 2019, an ex-boyfriend posted sexually explicit photos and videos that he took without her knowledge or consent. Reddit moderators sometimes “waited several days” before removing the content from the site. The site also allowed her ex to create a new account when his old account was suspended, the plaintiff said.
“Because Reddit refused to help, it fell to Jane Doe to monitor no fewer than 36 subreddits – which she knows about – that Reddit allowed her ex-boyfriend to repeatedly post child pornography,” the complaint read. “Reddit’s refusal to act has resulted in Jane Doe being forced to log into Reddit for the past few years and spend hours searching through some of the darkest and most disturbing subreddits so she can find the posts of her underage self and then battle Reddit for over to have them removed. “
Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
Jane Doe’s case is based on a series of bills signed by President Trump, known as FOSTA-SESTA, that facilitate the fight against illegal online sex trafficking. It was specifically intended to remove escort sites like Backpage that were supposed to make it easier for sex traffickers. The move was considered controversial because it replaces Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service may be treated as a publisher or speaker of information provided by any other information content provider become.”
The lawsuit accuses Reddit’s website content of “distributing child pornography” and “failing to report child sexual abuse material and of violating the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking Act”. It is said that Reddit knew this type of content was being posted, stating, “Reddit has admitted itself that it is aware of the presence of child pornography.” And the submission now includes defunct subreddits with titles like “Jailbait”.
“Child Sexual Abuse (CSAM) material has no place on the Reddit platform. We actively maintain policies and procedures that not only follow the law, but go beyond it, ”replied a Reddit spokesman. “We use both automated tools and human intelligence to proactively identify and prevent the spread of CSAM material. If we find such material, we delete it and permanently deny the user access to Reddit. We also take the steps required by law to report the relevant users and keep all necessary user data. “
Reddit also banned website content, including child sexualization, in 2012, saying that interpreting vague and controversial legal guidelines on what was considered illegal child pornography risks dragging Reddit into a legal quagmire. However, the current lawsuit alleges that it failed to enforce its own limits. “Reddit’s internal security has been compromised by the decision to rely on unpaid moderators who do not enforce standards to protect Reddit users and others,” the lawsuit said.
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