The Problem

Reddit, referred to as the “front page of the Internet,” hosts more than two million user-created “communities” covering nearly as many topics. Unfortunately, among these “subreddits” are countless sexually explicit images and videos posted without consent (image-based sexual abuse), child sexual abuse material (child pornography), hardcore pornography, prostitution, and the likely facilitation of sex trafficking.

Not only does Reddit turn a blind eye to illegal and harmful content on its site, survivor requests to remove images of their abuse go unanswered. Instead of prioritizing people’s safety and well-being, Reddit is focused more on profits by going public, aiming for valuation of over $15 billion while continuing to ignore the myriad forms of exploitation that prop up its value.

Read more and take action below!

Reddit fails to institute strong policies and practices to prevent harms.  

The Reddit User agreement says nothing about sexually explicit or adult content—allowing it to flourish without any meaningful age or consent verification.  

Reddit has been under media scrutiny several times for hosting image-based sexual abuse, including this past December when Cosmopolitan exposed the Nude Traders Club: men sharing their wives and girlfriends nude images. 

Image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) is a broad term that includes a multitude of harmful experiences, such as nonconsensual sharing of sexually explicit images (sometimes called “revenge porn”), pornography created using someone’s face without their knowledge (or deepfake pornography), nonconsensual recording or capture of intimate nude images (this can include so-called “upskirting” or surreptitious recordings in places such as restrooms and locker rooms via “spycams” etc.), and more.

Often, such materials are used for sextortion or advertise for prostitution, including sex trafficking victims. 

On paper, Reddit does prohibit “sexual or suggestive content involving minors,” and “involuntary pornography” but it fails to proactively and consistently enforce this rule.  

And despite having an estimated net worth of $2 billion, Reddit refuses to spend the necessary resources on a sufficient number of moderators and readily-available technology solutions. 

In addition, Reddit does not have advanced parental controls—relying only on privacy settings that take multiple, convoluted, steps to restrict the visibility of “adult content.” Yet a child is not locked into these settings and can easily log out of the account in order to view explicit content. Further, adults are able to easily contact and groom minors because anyone with an account can message other users and comment on their posts without restriction. (Learn more here.)

Further, Reddit appears to ignore survivors of sexual exploitation who ask for non-consensual materials to be removed.

In 2020, NCOSE assisted a survivor who was a minor at the time of her sexual abuse and had scores of abuse images uploaded and disseminated on the Internet. These images are Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) (also known as child pornography) which is contraband meaning, it is illegal under federal law to house, possess, or distribute it, including on the Internet. One of the websites the CSAM was uploaded to was Reddit. There were at least 28 unique URLs depicting this minor survivor’s abuse on Reddit. On December 18, 2020, NCOSE’s Law Center sent a takedown request on behalf of the survivor to Reddit’s CEO, Reddit’s Legal Department, as well as Reddit’s information, contact, and help desk email addresses. Several months later, our lawyers still had not received a response or acknowledgement from Reddit despite being informed of the very serious federal crimes occurring on their website.   

Eventually, NCOSE received a notice from Reddit stating that they no longer monitored [email protected] or [email protected], which then prompted us to fill out a Customer Support Ticket on their website. After a convoluted process, our legal team submitted the ticket once again explaining the very serious exploitation and abuse of the survivor and the federal crimes occurring on their website. Our legal team received an automated email stating that Reddit would look into our situation and investigate further if any action was necessary. 14 months after the initial takedown request, we still do not have confirmation that the content has successfully been removed.   

  • Users form online communities, knowns as subreddits, to share ideas, post photos and videos, discuss breaking news, and vote on content posted by other users 
  • The website is also known for its discussion forums, including its popular “Ask Me Anything” format, which presents online forums with celebrities and politicians 
  • Users submit posts that other users ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ based on if they like it. 
  • If a post gets lots of upvotes it moves up the Reddit rankings so that more people can see it 
  • People use the site to chat about anything in “forums” or chatrooms. 
  • Unlike on other platforms, you can be anonymous, making it an alluring platform for people interested in exploring sexual taboos. 
  • You often don’t need an account to access subreddits (chatrooms dedicated to a specific topic), including “NSFW” and kink-related ones. People can simply go to the website and type in the community of their choosing. To post, you can create an account using any username. 
  • Reddit’s 2021 year in review (Reddit Recap) boasted 366 million posts, 100,000 active communicates around the world 
  • Reddit is the 7th most visited website in the world and has 430 million active monthly users (as of 2/20/22) 

Reddit can become part of the solution by: 

  1. Adopting strong policies against hardcore pornography and sexually explicit content, due to the inability for Reddit to ever sufficiently verify the age or consent of people depicted in such content
  2. Instituting proactive moderation and filtering solutions to enforce such a policy,  
  3. Implementing survivor-centered practices and reporting mechanisms (for example, immediate removal across the platform when content is reported), 
  4. Banning users who upload sexually explicit material, especially if the material depicts child sexual abuse material or non-consensually shared intimate images, and prevent them from creating another account, 
  5. Creation of prominent, simple, and lock-able caregiver controls and blocking the ability for adults to message minors. 

Proof

WARNING: Any pornographic images have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There may also be graphic text descriptions shown in these sections.
POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Child Sexual Abuse Material

Child Sexual Abuse Material

Due to the graphic nature of the descriptions & images found in this proof, we've compiled them into a PDF document
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News Articles

News Articles

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Non-consensually Recorded and/or Shared Content

Non-consensually Recorded and/or Shared Content

Due to the graphic nature of the descriptions & images found in this proof, we've compiled them into a PDF document
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Normalized Incest

Normalized Incest

Due to the graphic nature of the descriptions & images found in this proof, we've compiled them into a PDF document
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Pornography & Prostitution

Pornography & Prostitution

Due to the graphic nature of the descriptions & images found in this proof, we've compiled them into a PDF document
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Reddit Policies

Reddit Policies

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Share Your Story

Your voice—your story—matters.

It can be painful to share stories of sexual exploitation or harm, and sometimes it’s useful to focus on personal healing first. But for many, sharing their past or current experiences may be a restorative and liberating process.

This is a place for those who want to express their story.