It hasn't been long since Reddit, the cultural battleground of some of the internet's most savvy consumers (and, of course, everyone else), came under fire for what detractors maintained were overly lax content policies that could have paved the way for Reddit to become a hub for child abuse. Though no section of Reddit was used explicitly to distribute child pornography, certain unsavory 'subreddits' were used to distribute images of minors that, although clothed, were sexualized or erotic in nature, often accompanied with erotic and explicit text.
The first time Reddit cracked down on those groups in an effort to put an end to potential child abuse, opponents of the ban cited the slippery slope of censorship as a reason to back off. Reddit did back off, but only temporarily, and since last February, a ban on all content that sexualizes children has really stuck.
But children aren't the only victims of sexual violence, and thanks to the massive freeshare space that Reddit provides, it would take an army of moderators working 'round the clock to filter through each and every single post to ensure the legal and ethical integrity of the content. Though owned by Condé Nast, they still don't have that kind of human power, and often when they find questionable, offensive, and/or illegal content that violates their new policies, the considerable psychological damage has already been done.
Thankfully, for those of us who do think that Reddit could stand to crack down even harder on off-putting content, a team of its users are taking matters into their own hands. Enter "Predditors," a new and potentially problematic Tumblr that went live just a few days ago, seeks to expose and embarrass the creepy internet usage of "sex offenders" who prowl the many hidden nooks and crannies of the website. http://predditors.tumblr.com/
Cue the mandatory Chris Hansen jokes.
The team behind Predditors posts citizen-journalist "dossiers" of whom they believe to be dangerous sexual predators on the internet due in large part to their posting on a section of Reddit called "creepshot," which encourages users to post explicit photographs of unsuspecting people. The Predditors team seeks to show these people that they are accountable through finding out as much as they can about the person in real life-- often with a picture and a link to said person's Facebook. After the link, they post brief biographical notes of said person (for instance, whether or not the person is 'extremely racist') then back up that information with screenshots of the person's Reddit usage.
We're wildly curious as to what Predditors will accomplish, for better or worse, through their good-intentioned character assassinations. While internet accountability is important, we hope that they will police themselves just as tenaciously, ensuring that the users they target are truly the worst that Reddit has to offer, and that the people to whose Facebooks they link are actually the Reddit users they're targeting.
If Predditors becomes important-- and it very well could, if its Twitter popularity is any indication-- the team behind it will have some serious power, and some serious thinking to do.