The window of what people are allowed to talk about on Reddit is growing ever-narrower and today, Reddit announced some new controversial rules as if they didn’t have enough already.
Reddit’s new “hate-based” terms of service update says that it protects only minority groups against harassment, while those considered the “majority” are not protected by the hate-speech rules. This appears to be suggesting that “hate” is allowed on the platform when projected at “majority” groups. Reddit is yet to clarify what is meant by the “majority.”
In the section entitled “Promoting Hate Based on Identity or Vulnerability,” Reddit indicates that protection against harassment only protects “marginalized” groups.
Here is Reddit’s definition of marginalized groups:
“Marginalized or vulnerable groups include, but are not limited to, groups based on their actual and perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. These include victims of a major violent event and their families.”
It’s the next part that’s alarming:
“While the rule on hate protects such groups, it does not protect all groups or all forms of identity. For example, the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate.”
Like other online platforms, Reddit has a set of rules that are supposedly meant to control “hate speech”. However, it appears that the platform considers that only some people are allowed to have such protections. Someone who happens to be born into a group that is a “majority” group, isn’t protected by Reddit’s hate-based rules.
Many will likely take this to mean that, at least with the section related to “race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity,” that Reddit could allow discrimination or “hate” against white people in areas where they are the majority. However, Reddit doesn’t make clear whether this is country-specific and would apply the same way in most countries where white people, for example, are in the minority.
While many platforms have come up with “hate speech” policies in recent times, with rules against discrimination against race taking center stage, Reddit appears to be the only major platform that is saying its hate speech rules don’t apply fairly to all users – and perhaps more shockingly, without going into the details of how they determine that.