Reddit is being used as a hub for people eager to view and download the vast cache of images stolen as part of the Snapchat site hack known as “The Snappening.”
A subreddit was created shortly after reports of the hack surfaced on Oct. 10. The “Snappening” community claims that it exists only to discuss the leaked photos and videos, but an overwhelming amount of posts in the subreddit are requests for download links to the child pornography that was leaked from third-party Snapchat site Snapsaved.
Here’s a sampling of posts from the Snappening subreddit:
We censored the top post, which was a request for photos of a particular girl. The rest of the Reddit posts are either requests for links to download the photos, or discussions about the real identity of the underage Snapchat users who had their intimate photos posted online by hackers.
Even the users of the Snappening subreddit are amazed that Reddit has allowed the community to exist. When private celebrity photos were stolen from Apple’s iCloud system, Reddit moved to ban the subreddit on which they were being shared.
One of the most popular posts is titled “How long until this sub is banned? Why hasn’t it been banned yet?… because none of the people pictured are special.” In the post, users marvel at the existence of their community, remarking “The only reason this sub is still here is because none of the people pictured are special in any way.”
The Snappening subreddit’s moderators have attempted to control the community, banning them from posting links to “confirmed” child pornography. However, there are only six moderators in the community, meaning that links to download the files are often left visible for 24 hours or more.
Users easily get around the ban on sharing the Snapchat files by communicating in private and using the subreddit as a public meeting place. One post in the Snappening subreddit asks for other people to send photos of a specific girl because the user claims she is in his class in school. Comments under the post read, “I’ve sent you a message” and “Feel free to send me a message.”
Reddit allows users to post stolen content because doing so is not illegal under US law. The only reason that Reddit would move to delete links to stolen images would be if the photograph is child pornography, or if the site receives a takedown request.
This isn’t the first time that Reddit has been used as a central hub to share stolen images. Reddit became the go-to resource for stolen celebrity photos after hackers gained access to the iCloud accounts of the rich and famous in an event dubbed “The Fappening.” In fact, Reddit proved so popular during the evening that the photos leaked that the site struggled to stay online after millions of people attempted to view the images. Eventually Reddit’s CEO announced that the popular “Fappening” subreddit had been banned, although the decision only came after extensive media coverage.
Business Insider reached out to Reddit for comment on this story and will update when we hear back.