Reddit bans hate subreddits in wake of new anti-harassment policy

11 Jun 2015

Internet message board Reddit has begun banning groups subreddits that promote hate, harassment and discrimination

The so-called ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit, has begun banning subreddits that violate its newest harassment rules.

Four of the subreddits were not named but one – entitled r/fatpeoplehate – had more than 5,000 subscribers.

The move comes months after Reddit moved to prohibit the posting of nude photos or videos of sex acts without the permission of the people in them.

Reddit is banning behaviour, not ideas

“Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to have authentic conversations and share ideas and content on an open platform,” a joint post by Jessica Moreno, interim CEO Ellen Pao and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian explained.

‘It is not easy to balance these values, especially as the internet evolves’ — Reddit statement

“We want as little involvement as possible in managing these interactions but will be involved when needed to protect privacy and free expression, and to prevent harassment.

“It is not easy to balance these values, especially as the internet evolves. We are learning and hopefully improving as we move forward. We want to be open about our involvement: We will ban subreddits that allow their communities to use the subreddit as a platform to harass individuals when moderators don’t take action. We’re banning behaviour, not ideas.

It is understood that the decision was made after a survey of Reddit users, which found that a large number of users would not recommend the site to friends because they did not want to expose them to offensive content.

“While we do not always agree with the content and views expressed on the site, we do protect the right of people to express their views and encourage actual conversations according to the rules of Reddit,” the Reddit management team said.

Banned internet user image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years