Jennifer Lawrence
Nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence were released during "the Fappening" on Reddit, but the social bookmarking website refused to take down nude photos of regular people - until nowGetty Images

In a major reversal of policy, social bookmarking website Reddit has announced a crackdown on revenge porn and will now prohibit any sexually explicit images posted without the subject's permission.

This decision comes just after Google's announcement on Tuesday 24 January that all blogs on the Blogger platform are prohibited from containing "sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video".

"No matter who you are, if a photograph, video, or digital image of you in a state of nudity, sexual excitement, or engaged in any act of sexual conduct, is posted or linked to on Reddit without your permission, it is prohibited on Reddit," read a blog post signed by Reddit executives including Ellen Pao, the current interim CEO.

"We also recognise that violent personalised images are a form of harassment that we do not tolerate and we will remove them when notified."

In September 2014, a large amount of nude photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and McKayla Maroney were stolen from Apple iCloud accounts and posted on "the Fappening", a subreddit section of the website.

Reddit previously expected its moderators to oversee the content posted on the website, with guidelines that only banned spam and child pornography.

In the end, it required heavy pressure from the affected celebrities and their lawyers to have the posts pulled down, but Reddit still retained Not Safe For Work (NSFW) boards where users could post compromising photographs of ordinary people.

Most of these photos were of women, many of them the ex-girlfriends of bitter Reddit users, and Reddit has been widely criticised for accepting takedown requests from celebrities, but not from everybody else.

The new rules mean that anyone will be able to ask Reddit to take down sexually explicit private photographs that have found their way onto the website without their permission.

This also enables Reddit to continue to allow users to post images to pornographic subreddits, as long as the people featured in the images have no complaints.