Reddit Censors LAPD Headshot to Satisfy Butthurt Conservative

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Today we were shocked by the news that Reddit wrongfully censored a piece of content that was auto-shared as part of an effort to raise awareness about online resources available to victims of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Last year we acquired a collection of data that was made available by an activist group called the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition known as LAPD Headshots. The collection features over 9,000 photos of LAPD personnel which we were able to match with a collection of officer data made available by another group called Open Oversight (see https://copblaster.com/lapd/). Sharing this content does not violate Reddit's policy but it seems one conservative Redditor managed to get a recent link removed anyway.


REDDIT's WARNING


We received a generic account warning from Reddit claiming that we violated their policy on posting personal information. The warning included the following explanation:


"After reviewing, we found that you broke Rule 3 because you shared someone's personal information. Reddit is a pseudonymous community, and revealing or threatening to reveal someone's personal, private, or confidential information is not allowed. This includes sharing links to someone's public Facebook page or LinkedIn account, or sharing screenshots where the persons name or personal information is viewable. We also don't tolerate posts or communities that coordinate, encourage, or participate in investigations aimed at finding and revealing private, personal, or confidential information about others." - Reddit


Reddit's own description of Rule 3 (https://support.reddithelp.com/hc/en-us/articles/360043066452-Is-posting-someone-s-private-or-personal-information-okay) explains why applying it to situations such as this is inappropriate. The relevant part reads as follows:


"Public figures can be an exception to this rule, such as posting professional links to contact a congressman or the CEO of a company. But don't post anything inviting harassment, don't harass, and don't cheer on or upvote obvious vigilantism." - Reddit


LAPD Officer Juan A. Gonzalez is one such public figure and as you can see all we shared was a link to a page containing his name, photo, and professional information including his job title, race, gender, and badge number (https://copblaster.com/blast/56687/lapd-officer-juan-a-gonzalez). We also include a place below the profile where users can post comments but so far nobody has had anything to say about Officer Gonzalez. By no stretch of the imagination is that private information.


WHO COMPLAINED?


To be clear, we do not suspect Officer Gonzalez of having anything to do with this removal. When we discovered what happened the censored content was the most recently shared item on the LAPD Pictures subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/LAPDPictures/) and the only comment was posted by a Redditor with a history of making comments that a law and order conservative would make such as, "this is the dumbest subreddit I've ever seen" and "Show us on the doll where Republicans hurt you, honey." For these reasons we suspect the removal was the result of a complaint made by u/ThrwAwyByTheDozen (https://www.reddit.com/user/ThrwAwyByTheDozen/).


We suspect that a Reddit employee prematurely removed the content based solely on it containing a name and picture of a person without consideration for the person's identity which is that of a public figure.


WILL WE APPEAL?


We have not decided whether or not to appeal the account warning. While we are confident that posting professional information about public figures is allowed under the Reddit policy, their appeal forms says it is specifically for suspensions and does not mention warnings, so we will research this more before deciding what if anything to do. In the meantime we will continue to auto-share 5 headshots per day which Reddit allows.

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