A woman has sued Reddit for allowing an ex-boyfriend to repeatedly post pornographic images of her as a 16-year-old. The lawsuit applies controversial measures instituted in 2018 under FOSTA-SESTA to a site that’s drawn particular criticism for child sexualization. The resulting case will test the limits of platforms’ legal shields amid ongoing efforts to pare back the law behind them.
The complaint cites FOSTA-SESTA, an amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, as a central element of the lawsuit. Section 230 provides a broad legal shield for “interactive computer services” like Reddit, limiting their liability if users post illegal content. But the 2018 FOSTA-SESTA bill removed protections for sex trafficking-related material. The lawsuit apparently argues Jane Doe’s case meets that definition because Reddit’s advertising revenue turned the video into a “commercial sex act.”[FAC NOTE: Wonder if registrants caught in online stings on adult sites can sue the platforms.]