Reddit Will Hide Hate Communities Rather Than Ban Them

The co-founder and new CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman, has explained his plan for how Reddit will deal with hate communities. Instead of out-right banning of hate communities, Reddit has decided to take a different approach. Things categorized by Reddit to be hateful or NSFW will no longer be available on public pages.

Writing on an AMA, Huffman outlined the company’s plan to combat hate content and other inappropriate material. Mr. Huffman said that the rules that he announced are essentially what the company already had in place. The new CEO engaged with users who wanted further clarification after his initial announcement.

As TechCrunch reported, the rules Reddit moderators will now use to police the site are aimed at quieting hate speech. Things like bullying, inciting violence, and harassment will either be hidden or banned, depending on the content. Of course, illegal content will still remain banned from the website.

“As we grew, I became increasingly uncomfortable projecting my worldview on others. More practically, I didn’t have time to pass judgement on everything, so I decided to judge nothing.”

The material will be moved to another part of Reddit that is flagged as NSFW (not safe for work) and will require a login to access it. Pornography has always been flagged as NSFW at Reddit, but now other, non-pornographic material will join it in the hidden parts of the site. Still, some really terrible things may be banned from Reddit regardless of its new policy.

“We’ll consider banning subreddits that clearly violate the guidelines in my post–the ones that are illegal or cause harm to others.”

Engadget noted that Huffman himself has said that Reddit was not created to be a free-speech zone. An idea the site’s users have long had in their minds. When the Reddit community thought their right to free speech was being infringed upon by Ellen Pao, ex-CEO of Reddit, they launched a firestorm of hate and attacks toward her. The pressure got so great that Pao decided to resign from Reddit, though she cited other reasons for her departure.

“Freedom of expression is important to us, but it’s more important to us that we at reddit be true to our mission.”

Most of the Reddit community will probably be happy to hear that the banning of subreddits are less likely to happen now. Reddit seems to have possibly struck the right balance needed to keep unpopular speech protected, while keeping Reddit a friendly site to visit.

[Photo by Eva Blue / Flickr]