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Internet forum Reddit closes 2000 discussion groups against hate speech

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The popular discussion site Reddit closed 2000 talk groups after the site tightened its house rules about hate speech. The site wants everyone to be able to use the site “without being attacked, bullied or threatened”.

Reddit has been around since 2005 and has become one of the most visited sites in the world with hundreds of millions of users. The discussions are not limited to current affairs and politics. Countless subreddits – subgroups managed by users – discuss every topic imaginable, from hobbies to funny pictures.

Freedom of speech

The site attaches great importance to freedom of expression, but it also regularly gets discredited. Wikipedia has a large list of subreddits that have been removed due to discrimination or calls for violence.

Several subreddits have gone black for the past few weeks as part of protests against racism and police brutality in the United States. Activists accused Reddit of doing too little against racist statements. Moderators have to keep an eye on the conversations, but they have not always performed.

New house rules

At the beginning of this month, the management of the site announced that it would act harder. Co-founder Alexis Ohanian left the company’s board, saying that his empty space should be filled by a black director. He has since been replaced by Michael Seibel.

Today, the tightened house rules have been published. Rule one is Remember the Human or take into account the person behind Reddit’s co-user.

Balance

2000 subgroups have been removed, including The_Donald, a group of supporters of US President Trump. In this group, users regularly shared racist and misogynistic messages or texts that are hurtful to LGBTI people. Conspiracy theories were also shared. Also removed is ChapoTrapHouse, a forum emerging from a left-wing political podcast.

According to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, most of the removed subreddits are inactive. Only 200 had more than ten daily users. Huffman calls it difficult to find a balance between the freedom to say what you want and “just human decency”.

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