Reddit takes down subforum on deepfake porn videos | News | DW | 08.02.2018
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Reddit takes down subforum on deepfake porn videos

Users had posted multiple "deepfake" porn videos using new software that superimposes faces onto existing footage. The message board also decided to update its content policy regarding sexual content.

Popular message board Reddit on Thursday deleted a controversial sub-forum on "deepfake" videos that use controversial face-swapping technology for violating its pornography policy.

The move follows similar bans by other popular sites against videos that use community-made software to superimpose the faces of female celebrities into existing pornographic footage.

What was Reddit targeting?

  • The message board banned the subreddit r/deepfakes for violating its content policy, "specifically our policy against involuntary pornography." Reddit also announced it had updated its content policy.
  • Reddit said a press statement to media outlets that it had also updated its content policy regarding involuntary pornography and sexual content involving minors. Forums and users that publish posts involving this content would, it added, be banned.
  • Many users had posted pornographic videos of celebrities, including Gal Gadot, Scarlett Johansson, Emma Watson and Michelle Obama, in the subforum after a Reddit user known as "deepfakes" wrote about a face-swapping algorithm he developed using open-source software.
  • Another Reddit user posted a program called "FakeApp" in early January that made it far easier to create deepfake videos.

Read more: Facebook seeks nude pics from users to tackle 'revenge porn'

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How did Reddit users react?

Views on the ban were mixed, with some supportive and others against. Some users questioned the motives behind the ban, while others speculated about the long-term implications of the technology behind deepfakes:

  • "If they’re clearly fake, what’s the problem? I mean if the sub is for fake images, then I don’t see the problem here," said user Freethot_.
  • "Yet you can literally post videos of people getting murdered on Reddit.. that’s ok.. just can’t post fake porn??" said user aaragus32.
  • "This whole thing is giving me a crazy feeling of future shock. I do not think we're ready for the implications of this software," said user Beelzebulbasaur.
  • "It's quite clear they started enforcing the rules because of the attention on deepfakes and not their own morals, which is fine, but they should just say it," said user Goonred.

Read more: One-fifth of Australians targeted by 'revenge porn' and image-based abuse

Deepfakes already banned elsewhere: Reddit's decision comes in the wake of similar bans on deepfake videos by websites Pornhub.com, Gfycat, Discord and Twitter.

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