Reddit Bans AI-Powered Fake Porn

Following Twitter, Discord, Imgur and Pornhub, Reddit has taken action to ban the posting of AI-generated fake porn - commonly called "deepfakes".

Image: Reddit

There's nothing especially new about the sort of doctored images where a popular celebrity's face is stitched onto a nude body. It's smut as old as the internet. But the FakeApp greatly lowers the technological barrier to entry in generating videos of this sort. Since the trend was first spotted by Motherboard, the deepfakes community on Reddit ballooned to almost 100,000 subscribers.

A site-wide policy update rolled out today "prohibits the dissemination of images or video depicting any person in a state of nudity or engaged in any act of sexual conduct apparently created or posted without their permission, including depictions that have been faked". In a statement to press, Reddit stated firmly that "Communities focused on this content and users who post such content will be banned from the site".

Reddit has previously been a hub for other unseemly NSFW content, and was a major hub for the trove of hacked celebrity images known as "The Fappening", which the sites administrators took a nearly five days to ban. Though slower to ban deepfakes than other platforms, the "frontpage of the internet" is getting somewhat faster at handling issues related to privacy and communicating what's acceptable to users. As early as last month, users reported deepfake threads being removed from the site.

Though far from exhaustive, Reddit went on the warpath against extremist communities in October. This policy update - which specifically calls out "'creepshots' or 'upskirt' imagery" along with faked porn - also unties the historically laissez-faire approach of site administrators to come down on communities built around people who have been surreptitiously photographed or had their online photo libraries fusked.

In a post last week, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman called attention to doubling the site's staff headcount and proactive moderation driven by "sophisticated modelling". In all likelihood, Reddit is attempting to streamline and centralise its policy initiatives before its upcoming redesign. Whether users come along willingly will be another matter entirely.

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