Despite the fact that Reddit is being criticized for allowing users to share questionable images (like women being photographed without their knowledge), the site’s CEO Yishan Wong released a statement saying that the site’s moderators legal content should not be removed.
Wong sent the announcement out in a private post to moderators and administrators, saying that the content should not be removed, even if “we find it to be odious or if we personally condemn it.” He added, “We stand for free speech … we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits.”
These distasteful subreddits were thrust into the public eye following a Gawker expose that uncovered the real-world identity of Reddit user “Violentacrez,” who reportedly posts a mass of questionable content on the website.
The man, Michael Brutch, reportedly contributes to the “jailbait” and “Creepshots” subreddits. While both threads have been shut down since the expose, Reddit’s CEO clearly stated that these kinds of subreddits may not be taken down in the future.
Reddit prides itself as being an anonymous site that has grown into a cultural force. Many people watched an AMA (Ask Me Anything) chat that was hosted by President Barack Obama on the website in August. The event moved the site into a new phase in the social media movement. Wong stated about the sometimes questionable subreddits:
“We also think that if someday, in the far future, we do become a universal platform for human discourse, it would not do it in our youth, we decided to censor things simply because they were distasteful.”