On a site that relies on user-submitted content, there's bound to be some areas that the general public finds distasteful, perverted, or even criminal. When that site is reddit (which generated 3.4 billion pageviews last month), it's a mathematical certainty.
Reddit has seen its share of controversy regarding the content of the links posted to the site. Earlier this year, it was the r/jailbait subreddit that drew media scrutiny. On that subreddit users posted photos of minors, often accompanied by sexual provocative language. The photos regularly featured the minors in sexually suggestive poses, but site moderators upheld a strict no-nudity policy. Even so, the subreddit toed the line of child pornography - enough so to force reddit to make a sweeping policy change that banned any and all suggestive or sexual content featuring minors. r/Jailbait was shut down, but plenty of other subreddits popped up in its place.
Now, it's another subreddit that has made the news. A substitute teacher in Georgia has been accused of submitting photos of students to r/creepshots (NSFW).
Creepshots hosts user-submitted candid photos of attractive women. "Creepshots are CANDID. If a person is posing for and/or aware that a picture is being taken, then it ceases to be candid and thus is no longer a creepshot. A creepshot captures the natural, raw sexiness of the subject without their vain attempts at putting on a show for the camera. That is the essence of the creepshot, that is what makes a true creepshot worth the effort and that is why this subreddit exists," explain the moderators.
According to FOX Atlanta, the teacher has been relieved of their duties and is no longer on the substitute rotation in the school district.
r/Creepshots moderators have acknowledged the story, saying,
"Unfortunately, we have again made the news in a sadly negative light as a teacher was rightfully arrested for posting pictures of his students on our beloved subreddit. Please do not post any pictures of anyone under the age of 18, at all. The pictures will be immediately removed and we'll also report you to the Admins straight away (who may take it even further and contact local law enforcement agencies)."
They have also posted a defense of the subreddit, comparing it to the activities of paparazzi sites like TMZ:
While there will no doubt be many complaints and moral outrages about this subreddit and how the theme of this subreddit is disgusting, etc... there is absolutely no difference between the types of images that are submitted on r/CreepShots, and between what paparazzi photographers do, around the world, for thousands of newspapers and magazines every single day. Some of the biggest sites on the internet, like TMZ.com rely on candid snaps of celebrities otherwise they wouldn't even exist. Take your indignation there first.
People constantly have their pictures taken, without their consent, and used in publications without their knowledge. When you are outside and in public space, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Also, please note: the moderators in this subreddit are very active and we regularly remove rule-breaking/illegal submissions. However, removing a thread only removes it from the public listings of the subreddit so that it no longer shows up. It can still be accessed through a users profile page, or if someone else has the link. This is not our fault, but a Reddit issue which is common to every single subreddit. We do report images to Imgur for removal, but can't do anything about whether the images are removed from there or not.
There is nothing illegal about this subreddit, whatsoever. Creepy, sinister, skin-crawling and generally downright distasteful... yes.
But nothing illegal.
While posting photos of minors is an obvious violation of reddit's aforementioned policy, what about photos of adults? Do the members of r/creepshot have a point? Is what they're doing any different from a tabloid magazine?