Many of the world’s biggest subreddits ‘close’ in major protest

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Many of Reddit’s biggest forums have “shut down” themselves in protest of the site’s misinformation policy.

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More than 100 subreddits — including two that each have over 10 million subscribers — have made themselves private, meaning they can only be viewed by members.

The move is part of a protest against Reddit’s management and its policy against misinformation on the coronavirus.


Last week, Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman rejected users’ pleas to explicitly ban posts that spread false information about Covid. He said the site values ​​”disagreement” and aims to make the site a place for “open and authentic discussion and debate”.

“It includes conversations that question or disagree with popular consensus. It includes conversations that criticize those who disagree with the opinion of the majority. It includes protests that criticize or oppose our decisions.” on which communities are to be banned from the platform.”

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Mr Huffman’s post was specifically locked at the time of posting, meaning users were unable to express any dissent in response to the post directly.

Instead, moderators from various forums have “darkened” those subreddits as a way of expressing their belief that the site needs to do more. There are both “Futurology” and “Tifu”, both of which have over 10 million users, but there are many more, including those dedicated to Star Trek and Pokemon Go.

Reddit’s response to misinformation has largely been characterized by the belief that other users will correct posts that spread misinformation. While it has added some penalties, they have mostly been limited to “quarantining” a platform, which only adds a warning page that users can dismiss.

It is this approach that has led to criticism from users, who argued that Reddit was helping to spread lies.

“We could have been better months ago, but propaganda and lies have been easily allowed to spread through passivity and malice, and have been dragged at the cost of lives,” an open letter posted on the “VaxxHapped” subreddit read .

“There are people who deny that pandemics even exist, there are people who think wearing a mask will literally suffocate you, there are people who think it’s no worse than a regular flu virus , that it is a bio weapon, and everything in between. This amount of blatant misinformation is problematic and dangerous.”


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