Reddit Defends Free Speech Policy

The chief executive of Reddit says the site will maintain its policy that anything goes as long as it’s legal.

Yishan Wong said that the site would stand up for free speech and keep content online even when “we find it odious or if we personally condemn it.”

The comments come shortly after the revelation that a notorious Reddit user appears to have been fired from his job after being outed in an article on Gawker. The piece revealed the true identity of Violentacrez, a man responsible for creating numerous sections (known as subreddits), most notably for pictures of teenage girls labeled “Jailbait.” He had earned the nickname “the creepy uncle of Reddit.”

He also acted as a moderator on “Creepshots”, a section dedicated to photographs of women taken in public places but without the subject’s knowledge. Gawker writer Adrian Chen believed he was justified in exposing the man’s true identity, talking to him on several occasions before publishing the piece.

After the expose, Violentacrez cancelled his account and re-registered under his real name. He’s now revealed that he has been told not to return to work and has already had his remote access disabled and his health insurance cancelled. It’s prompted several posters to make the comment that freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of consequences.

Although the Jailbait and Creepshots sections have been removed, Wong maintains that Reddit will continue to allow legal content. Ironically one key exception to that policy will remain: no posts are allowed that reveal personal information about a Reddit poster without their permission.

Wong also says he has lifted a site-wide ban on linking to the Gawker article, noting the ban was a mistake. However, the administrators of individual subreddits will still be allowed to block links to particular pages or sites.