For nearly a decade, Reddit, the huge online message board, has been known for its freewheeling stance on letting its users govern themselves. That has resulted in an outpouring of user-generated content — for better or, sometimes, for worse — that attracts nearly 160 million regular users to the site.
The policy shift will likely upset members of a number of Reddit communities, some of which use the site to trade illicit photos taken of others without their permission. A few years ago, Michael Brutsch created a large sub-community called “Jailbait” dedicated entirely to posting and trading photos of underage girls.
Reddit has undergone a series of changes over the last year, including the departure of its chief executive and a fresh $50 million round of venture capital. The company has re-dedicated itself to proving it can build a long-lasting, sustainable business on top of the huge amount of traffic it regularly attracts, which has caused some degree of self-scrutiny.
“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, said in an interview.