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Reddit Changes Policies on Content with Fictional Minors

In an attempt to do away with deep fakes, Reddit has made some policy changes. While making these changes, there were certain other policy adjustments that some have noticed.

Just the other day, an admin on Reddit made a post regarding some changes to the site rules.

Hello All--

As we have said in past communications with you all, we want to make Reddit a more welcoming environment for all users. We will continue to review and update our policies as necessary.

We’ll hang around in the comments to answer any questions you might have about the updated rules.

Edit: Thanks for your questions! Signing off now.

These changes were mostly made in regard to the recent push to ban deep fakes (computer generated porn videos that edit faces to look like celebrities or other unwilling parties.) In today’s climate, a simple accusation can be worthy of a death sentence in the court of public opinion, so a push to have fake porn videos purged is understandable. What caught our eye, were some other policies adjustments — specifically, a change to the policy on sexual or suggestive content involving minors. The new policy reads as follows:

Reddit prohibits any sexual or suggestive content involving minors or someone who appears to be a minor.

This includes child sexual abuse imagery, child pornography, and any other content, including fantasy content (e.g. stories, anime), that encourages or promotes pedophilia, child exploitation, or otherwise sexualizes minors. Depending on the context, this can in some cases include depictions of minors that are fully clothed and not engaged in overtly sexual acts.

If you are unsure about a piece of content involving a minor or someone who appears to be a minor, do not post it.

The part that stands out is, “this can in some cases include depictions of minors that are fully clothed and not engaged in overtly sexual acts.” Now, when it comes to policies intended to protect actual children, you’re not going to find any complaints here; however, Reddit’s policies seem to conflate real people with fictional ones. Does their new policy mean that simply posting pictures of cute anime girls can get you in trouble?

Reddit banned full-blown lolicon long ago, despite continuing to allow subreddits dedicated to animal abuse, criminal activity, and brutal violence. One could only hope that these new changes are not an attempt to clamp down on anime further, but it's not clear at this time. Some criticized the recent rule changes in their entirety as a little more than a virtue signal, especially since the actual method for reporting rule-breaking content is rather buried within sub-menus. At this time, it's difficult to say whether this story is over or if there's more to come.

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