News-reading site Reddit on Saturday purged its forums of the pages responsible for sharing stolen celebrity images, including those of Jennifer Lawrence, in a bid to clean up the social network.
Late on Saturday 6 September, ‘the Fappening’ subreddit page, on which most of the illicit images were shared, was blocked to stem the tide of the offending images; a move which the site likened to “a game of whack-a-mole”.
As one of the only few safe havens for the images, Reddit last week saw traffic of over 250m unique users. However, the site's creators closed the forum after it found the pictures breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
A Reddit statement said: “We're trying to explain some of what has been going on here… a lot of people are saying what we're doing here reeks of bullshit, and I don't blame them.
“A very shitty thing happened this past Sunday. A number of very private and personal photos were stolen and spread across the internet. The fact that these photos belonged to celebrities increased the interest in them by orders of magnitude, but that in no way means they were any less harmful or deplorable.
“If the same thing had happened to anyone you hold dear, it'd make you sick to your stomach with grief and anger.”
The report added that Reddit could have faced a wider closure if it had not dealt with the legal requests to remove the photos.
“We’d execute a takedown, someone would adjust, reupload, and then repeat. This same practice was occurring with the underage photos, requiring our constant intervention … it became obvious that we were either going to have to watch these subreddits constantly, or shut them down. We chose the latter.”
The images were first stolen months ago after hackers breached the iCloud accounts of over 100 celebrities.
Last week, the Prostate Cancer Foundation rejected a $3000 donation from members of 'the Fappening' despite users claiming it would help them make amends for sharing the stolen images.