Last week, women-hating men’s right activists and Incels (misoginists who consider themselves “involuntarily celibate”), 9/11 truthers and Holocaust deniers got a bit harder to find on Reddit, which issued a new policy to quarantine communities that propagate misinformation.
In its post announcing the change, the media platform said:
“While Reddit has had a quarantine function for almost three years now, we have learned in the process. Today, we are updating our quarantining policy to reflect those learnings, including adding an appeals process where none existed before.
“On a platform as open and diverse as Reddit, there will sometimes be communities that, while not prohibited by the Content Policy, average redditors may nevertheless find highly offensive or upsetting. In other cases, communities may be dedicated to promoting hoaxes (yes we used that word) that warrant additional scrutiny, as there are some things that are either verifiable or falsifiable and not seriously up for debate (eg, the Holocaust did happen and the number of people who died is well documented). In these circumstances, Reddit administrators may apply a quarantine.
The purpose of quarantining a community is to prevent its content from being accidentally viewed by those who do not knowingly wish to do so, or viewed without appropriate context. We’ve also learned that quarantining a community may have a positive effect on the behavior of its subscribers by publicly signaling that there is a problem. This both forces subscribers to reconsider their behavior and incentivizes moderators to make changes.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Reddit’s new policy. “”Holocaust denial is hate speech,” he said. “Tech platforms have a moral and ethical obligation to prevent such anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from spreading. That’s why we’re grateful to see Reddit take this proactive step to reduce the number of people who will see such hateful information as well as to direct users to reputable educational resources where they can learn about the Holocaust.
“It’s another sign of responsible leadership from Reddit as the company seems committed to reduce hate speech on their platform. We hope this new policy will be effective and reduce the spread of this information on Reddit.”