NCOSE Finds Reddit Still Hosts Image-Based Sexual Abuse Despite Updated Policy

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2023) – In a letter to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), along with 319 anti-sexual exploitation and violence advocates from 31 countries, are demanding that Reddit stop facilitating image-based sexual abuse. Reddit published an updated policy in March 2022 to address this issue, and has spoken about hashing initiatives to remove reported cases of image-based sexual abuse (or non-consensually shared explicit content).

However, on April 13, 2023, within 3 seconds of searching, NCOSE researchers were able to find posts and threads with high indicators of adult image-based sexual abuse, such as “leaked” content, trading of encrypted links indicating additional trading/selling of image-based sexual abuse, and other posts violating Reddit’s policies such as “nip slips.” NCOSE also found posts with high indications of networking for trading child sexual abuse materials.

“Reddit has failed to prevent image-based sexual abuse on its platform, and we are calling for the company to immediately take meaningful steps to course correct. Image-based sexual abuse – which can happen in an instant to anyone – can create lifelong trauma and its removal must be prioritized,” said Haley McNamara, vice president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Reddit’s failure to enact meaningful age and consent verification practices or to overhaul ineffective moderation strategies continues to allow such exploitive content to flourish on its platform.

“Reddit also appears to ignore survivors’ requests to take down sexual abuse materials. For example, the NCOSE Law Center has reached out to Reddit multiple times on behalf of a child sexual abuse survivor whose abuse was uploaded to Reddit, but has yet to receive any confirmation of whether the content was removed.

“Given the seriousness of the IBSA-based trauma that Reddit continues to facilitate—we call on the company to address these shortcomings immediately, and to meet with experts and survivors to build solutions and prevent further abuse,” McNamara added.

Image-based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) is the creation, theft, extortion, threatened or actual distribution, or any use of sexualized or sexually explicit materials without the meaningful consent of the person depicted. According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 1 in 8 social media users in the U.S. are targets of image-based sexual abuse. The majority of victims are women and girls, and the perpetrators are men. For more information, visit:

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.   

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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