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Reddit’s I.P.O. Is a Content Moderation Success Story

Reddit’s I.P.O. Is a Content Moderation Success Story


Redditors howled at these adjustments — and Mr. Wong’s successor as C.E.O., Ellen Pao, was chased out by a horde of offended customers — however the firm’s pivot to respectability was an plain success. Reddit’s picture has steadily improved below a co-founder, Steve Huffman, who got here again in 2015 to run the positioning as chief govt, and Reddit was in a position to construct the ad-based enterprise mannequin that sustains it immediately.

In explicit, I wish to single out three steps Reddit took to scrub up its platform, all of which have been instrumental in paving the way in which for the corporate’s public debut.

First, the corporate took intention at dangerous areas, slightly than dangerous people or dangerous posts.

Reddit, in contrast to different social media websites, is organized by subject; customers can be a part of “subreddits” dedicated to gardening, anime or dad jokes. That meant that when the corporate made new guidelines banning hate speech, harassment and extremism, it confronted an necessary query: Should we implement the brand new guidelines consumer by consumer or put up by put up, as new violations are reported, or ought to we proactively shut down complete subreddits the place these guidelines have been constantly damaged?

Reddit, to its credit score, selected the much less common choice. It nuked 1000’s of offensive and hateful subreddits, attaching culpability to not particular person posts or customers however to the areas the place poisonous issues continuously occur, on the speculation that on-line areas, like offline ones, typically develop customs and norms which can be arduous to dislodge.

Harsh because it was, the method labored. Years later, when researchers studied these adjustments, they discovered that Reddit’s subreddit bans had led to a measurable discount in general toxicity on the positioning. Users who had frequented the banned communities largely both left Reddit solely or modified their conduct. The poisonous areas didn’t reconstitute themselves, and rule-abiding Redditors received the advantages of a cleaner, much less hateful platform.

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