Reddit bans its /Shoplifting community in wake of new legislation

One person is so mad that they're ready to sue.


Tess Cagle


Posted on Mar 24, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 8:41 pm CDT

Reddit banned its /shoplifting community on Thursday, according to Racked. The ban comes in conjunction with the website cracking down on what kind of user-generated transactions it allows.

“As of March 21, 2018, we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain classes of goods and services,” a representative from Reddit told Racked in an email. “Moving forward, we are prohibiting transactions that are either illicit or strictly controlled. Communities focused on such transactions and users who attempt to conduct them will be banned from the site.”

In addition to the end of /shoplifting, Reddit banned the solicitation and sale of paid sexual acts, along with other goods and services, including firearms, ammunition, explosives, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, personal information, falsified documents and currency, and stolen items. Other communities have been taken down, including the dark net subreddit and forum trading beer

When considering a gift or transaction of goods or services not prohibited by this policy, keep in mind that Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this,” Reddit said in a community post. “Always remember: You are dealing with strangers on the internet.”

Reddit made this policy change the same day the U.S. Senate passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which holds companies responsible for any sex trafficking content on their websites. The act does this by amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which limited websites’ liability for user-generated content. Presumably, this new act played a role in Reddit’s content policy change.

Quite a few Reddit users were unhappy about the abrupt change in policy—one user has gone as far as to threaten to sue the website because he believes his intellectual property has been destroyed. Others either applauded the website’s decision or had no idea the community existed.

Reddit isn’t the only site changing up its content policy in the wake of FOSTA. Craigslist also removed its “Personals” section on Thursday.

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*First Published: Mar 24, 2018, 2:59 pm CDT