Reddit has banned nearly 7,000 subreddits under its controversial new hate speech rules that were introduced on June 29.
Reddit was slammed when the rules were introduced because, while they protected minorities, they allowed “hate” against “majority” groups. After facing massive backlash, Reddit revised the policy but the new rules were still criticized for being too vague and open-ended.
2,000 subreddits were banned on the day Reddit announced its new hate speech rules, which means an additional 5,000 have been banned in the weeks following the introduction of the policy.
Reddit wrote that the subreddits were collectively viewed by around 365,000 viewers per day before their bans and also discussed its goal of scrubbing 100% of “hateful content” from its platform:
“What we saw is an 18% reduction in users posting hateful content as compared to the two weeks prior to the ban wave. While I would love that number to be 100%, I’m encouraged by the progress.”
Reddit also noted that its automoderator tool, which automatically removes hate speech before it’s reported automoderator, had partially driven reduced exposure of hate speech and that it’s working on “new moderator tools that will help ease automatic detection.”
The consequence of this mass purge of what Reddit deems to be hateful content has been the decline and deletion of some of its most popular communities including The Donald.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said he was fine with the decline of The Donald and that he wished he’d quarantined it sooner weeks before it was ultimately purged under Reddit’s new hate speech rules.
The report from Reddit is reflective of hate speech updates from other social media companies with Facebook and Twitter also reporting that they’ve removed record numbers of user accounts or pieces of content under their hate speech rules and increased their reliance on automated tools.
While these Big Tech companies like to tout how much content they’ve removed for hate speech, undercover videos have revealed that there are often inconsistencies in the way these rules are applied which leave the door open for censorship based on the personal bias of content moderators.
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