Celebrity nude photo leak: The story behind Reddit’s ban of ‘The Fappening’

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NEW YORK (PIX11) - The mass leak of nude celebrity photos from Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and others brought record traffic to the proudly-open website Reddit, and, in the end, forced administrators to controversially ban a major source, called "The Fappening."

News of the leak grew Sunday evening after the dump of celebrity XXX-rated photos on the image-based bulletin board 4Chan creating a massive spike in Internet traffic.

By Monday, photos were being pulled from the Internet as lawyers contacted the host sites.

As the photos came down, they started popping up on The Fappening, a subreddit created by a Reddit user who noticed the term in a forum.  Under pressure from lawyers and users, Reddit banned The Fappening -- despite issuing a memo promising to keep the platform "as open as possible."

The backlash from Redditors was immediate, and the site posted another message to explain the seemingly contradictory ban.  According to a site administrator, it was mostly a case of poor timing.

As The Fappening became the de facto source of the leaked photos, Reddit was informed that some of the nude images were taken of minors (a violation of the site's policy) and that other predatory users were using the form to launch malicious attacks.

The user who created The Fappening, johnsmcjohn, spoke out about the ban in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), "I am not happy.  If they banned my sub on Sunday (or even Monday after we broke servers) I would be fine with it.  But they made a decision that seems based on what their lawyers say, rather than what is best for the site."

Reddit admins say they never wanted to ban the subreddit (they allow many other questionable forums to exist).  "We put up a blog post explaining why we don't ban things for reason X (which some people want us to, but we will not), but at the same time behavior in a subreddit started violating reason Y (a pre-existing and valid rule for which we do ban things) and we banned it, resulting in much confusion."

Read Reddit's full explanation, titled "Every Man Is Responsible For His Own Soul."

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