Reddit Sees a Surge in Digital Vigilantes Posting Personal Info

The community at Reddit has grown rapidly with the decline of Digg, realizing the initial vision of co-founder Alexis Ohanian of a “front page for the web” for a growing number of users. The downside? Reddit has scary reach and power.

Today the company addressed a growing problem on its blog: Reddit users have been “doxing”–posting personally identifiable information a la 4chan–lately more and more:

Reddit we need to talk about the posting of users’ personal information on this site.

There has been an unacceptable surge of this happening lately. We’ve had this discussion before, just three months ago. But alas, that is an eternity in internet time.

We’re not going to condone this kind of behavior. If you feel the urge to arm yourself with torches and pitchforks and personal information … step away from the computer, take a deep breath, and remember:

This is the Internet. You don’t know these people. If you heard that some guy down the street was trying to scam someone on YouTube or lied about the time they made mayonnaise in their bathtub or pretended to be a time traveler from the future, would you go over there and egg their house and throw bricks through their window and kidnap their puppy? Seriously?

In response, Redditors immediately began trying to post their own personal information, including full names, phone contact and social security numbers in the comments.

The site has passed more than 1 billion page views per month on nearly 18 million unique visitors and while rumors of a spin-off from parent company Conde Nast have been floated, the site recently brought on more staff.

Reddit Sees a Surge in Digital Vigilantes Posting Personal Info