Reddit’s New Child Safety Updates are Critical, but Company Must Also Confront Image-Based Sexual Abuse and Enforcement Problems

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2023) – Reddit has updated its child safety policy, answering concerns raised by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to help curtail predatory behaviors of adults towards minors. Reddit is on NCOSE’s 2023 Dirty Dozen List, an annual list of mainstream entities that facilitate, enable, and even profit from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Reddit announced that it will prohibit comments, pictures, cartoon images (anime, etc.), and poses that sexualize minors, as well as predatory behaviors such as “sexual role-play where an adult might assume the role of a minor.” Additionally, “using Reddit to facilitate inappropriate interactions with minors on other platforms, websites or via electronic devices is also prohibited.”

“Reddit has taken a significant step to course-correct its user safety policies to improve child safety, corresponding to multiple concerns our organization raised. This is good and commendable news! At the same time, we have on-going concerns about implementation as well as Reddit’s harmful polices around adult image-based sexual abuse,” said Haley McNamara, Vice President of Strategy and Communications, National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Currently, we are skeptical that these child safety policies are being well enforced, as NCOSE researchers were still able to find numerous likely indicators of child sexualization and child sexual abuse material among the top NSFW subreddits—including titles like ‘xmallgirls’ and references to flat-chestedness.”

Further, in a disappointing move, Reddit updated its policies on “non-consensual intimate images” (i.e. image-based sexual abuse) to expressly allow AI-generated pornography that does not depict an identifiable individual. This permissiveness overlooks the fact that any type of AI-generated pornography may be created non-consensually or based on non-consensual imagery.

“AI-generated pornography is created by scraping sexually explicit images en masse—without verifying that the image was created or distributed consensually, and without obtaining consent for the use of the image,” said McNamara. “This content should be banned across the board.” 
Forbes revealed that AI-generated pornography, some of which is “built on non-consensual images of real people,” is flourishing on Reddit. 
“Reddit must confront the scourge of image-based sexual abuse, whether AI-generated or otherwise, that has thrived on its platform,” McNamara said. “We reiterate our call on the company to remove sexually explicit content unless it can enact meaningful age and consent verification of those depicted in pornography.” 

“It is no secret that Reddit is hoping to offer an IPO and is likely trying to shore up liability from API monetization by limiting third party access to sexually explicit content, so we hope that Reddit will continue to do more to address and confront sexual abuse and exploitation issues that have festered for too long,” said McNamara.

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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