Reddit has announced yet another batch of policy changes that relate to content, the company’s board, and future direction of the platform.
Unsurprisingly, the focus of the revised content policy will be tackling “hate,” and Reddit says it is working on this with moderators.
A post written by Reddit CEO Steve Huffman talks about speaking out and addressing the current crisis in the US revolving around race issues, and the way the social platform itself functions.
Huffman says that to this end, he penned an email last week to employees, but received responses that questioned Reddit’s credibility regarding the planned changes, given that it in the past “faced racism from users on its own platform.”
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Huffman – who co-founded Reddit with Alexis Ohanian, who has now resigned from the company’s board explicitly to allow a Black person to take his place – clearly took this criticism to heart, announcing that there is “an unacceptable gap” between the attitudes of the company and those who run it, and what’s in its content policy.
The way he intends to fix this is by changing the current policy that he says only explains what is now allowed, without expanding into the values that drive those rules, or “explicitly taking a stance on hate or racism.”
But that is about to change now, Huffman writes, as the updated policy – that is still in the works but is expected to be enforced in several weeks’ time – will be something of a manifesto that describes Reddit’s vision of what its communities should be like, the context – i.e., the values behind the rules, and a declaration regarding hate.
The write-up mentions that subreddits already ban content they see as hateful or racist, but apparently now Reddit wants to play a more involved role in this process as a way to “rebalance the burden of enforcement.”
The post, written in a contrite tone that suggests Reddit is essentially “not doing enough” at present, also mentions one of the biggest recent controversies, and the “quarantining” of The Donald subreddit, which Huffman said should have been done sooner.
All in all, the intention here seems to be to introduce more aggressive moderation and to further tighten the platform’s control of speech, which some will no doubt see as more censorship.