If you haven’t heard about it already, or maybe you are just like me and try and stay out of the celebrity gossip as much as possible, there has been a leak of several celebrities’ nude photos across the internet. Celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian’s personal images have spread across the internet like wildfire, without their acknowledgment or consent. The perpetrator is a hacker who somehow hacked his way onto their personal iClouds and stole the images and then preceded to share them on 4chan.
Known as the one of the “darkest corners of the Web,” 4chan displays abhorrent memes as well as some of the most prurient content on the internet, it’s a site you don’t want to stumble across unawares. After the photos were released onto 4chan, the rest becomes history. Users of 4chan took the photos and spread them across social media outlets and social forums like Twitter and Reddit, violating the celebrities’ privacy and turning their most private moments into public humiliation.
Now it has happened again – more leaked celebrity nude photos are being accessed throughout the internet and this time, the users of Reddit can be blamed. While I could write a whole other blog post about data breaches and the importance of information security training, I’ll stick with covering the ethics on this one.
According to the Washington Post, users of Reddit, an entertainment, social networking and news website where members can submit whatever content they like in the form of text posts or direct links, are distributing the pictures throughout the forum in different chat boards.
There is little regulation with this site and users have the free will to post whatever they like, including stolen nude photos. Reddit’s response? While they did go in and delete one chat board that was displaying the photos, the rest of the boards were up for grabs. Users are still posting the photos throughout the site and Reddit refuses to take the photos down.
According to Reddit, users, “have the right to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and that is your responsibility to do so, you choose what to post. You choose what to read. You choose what kind of rules you will enforce.”
When it comes to Twitter, users have the right to post whatever they like, as long as it’s under 140 characters. Yet Twitter went in and completely blocked or removed all of the stolen photos, so why can’t Reddit do the same? Well according to Reddit, it’s a matter of principal now.
Reddit released its code of ethics for the website alongside the event, the title including, “every man is responsible for his own soul.” While they say they condemn the widespread distribution of these stolen photos, they will not take them down because users have the right to post whatever they like and link whatever they like. This free will is the foundation of their website and why it is so popular: there are no politics involved; people have the free will to post whatever they want as long as it doesn’t cause harm or damage the integrity and ability of the site to function.
Working at an ethics and compliance company I can’t help but disagree with their statement. How can we trust users of Reddit to know what posts are considered right or wrong, good or evil? With the billions of people accessing the internet multiple times a day, how can we trust that users even understand what constitutes physical danger or unethical content. Many would argue that the release of these photos did cause harm and damage the integrity of site.
Reddit Users Need Code of Ethics Training
What users need alongside Reddit’s code of ethics, is code of ethics training. We know that users have the right to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, but how about showing users some examples of what is considered a right action or a wrong action? Provide scenarios, use illustrations, do something that really will help drive the message home and help educate the millions of users of Reddit to know the ethical impact of their online actions. Code of ethics training will help users understand what the purpose of the code is, why the user must follow the code’s rules and if they don’t, training will list the consequences of posting inappropriate content. Educating users first may help others from witnessing items on the website that are not meant to be shared publicly.
For More Information About Code of Ethics Training, Check Out These Resources:
- Blog: Should Google’s “Driverless” Cars Require Code of Ethics Training?
- Blog: Uber, Lyft Stop The Childish Shenanigans – Go Sit In Time Out And Reflect On Your Code of Ethics Training
- Blog: Bruce Levenson Takeaways, Plus 5 History Lessons To Add “Oomph” To Your Business Ethics Training
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