New Reddit CEO Lays Down the Law on Harassment, Hate Speech

By Justin Lafferty Comment

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Reddit’s co-founder (and newly-minted CEO) Steve Huffman addressed the future of the site in a post recently, taking a hard stance against spam, discussing illegal activity, harassment and hate speech.

Huffman posted a mission statement to the site, then answered questions from redditors:

Reddit is a place to have open and authentic discussions. The reason we’re careful to restrict speech is because people have more open and authentic discussions when they aren’t worried about the speech police knocking down their door. When our purpose comes into conflict with a policy, we make sure our purpose wins.

As Reddit has grown, we’ve seen additional examples of how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit. Earlier this year, Reddit took a stand and banned non-consensual pornography. This was largely accepted by the community, and the world is a better place as a result (Google and Twitter have followed suit). Part of the reason this went over so well was because there was a very clear line of what was unacceptable.

Therefore, today we’re announcing that we’re considering a set of additional restrictions on what people can say on Reddit—or at least say on our public pages—in the spirit of our mission.

Huffman then listed types of content that are now forbidden on Reddit:

  • Spam
  • Anything illegal (i.e. things that are actually illegal, such as copyrighted material. Discussing illegal activities, such as drug use, is not illegal)
  • Publication of someone’s private and confidential information
  • Anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people (it’s ok to say “I don’t like this group of people.” It’s not ok to say, “I’m going to kill this group of people.”)
  • Anything that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people (these behaviors intimidate others into silence)[2]
  • Sexually suggestive content featuring minors

He also mandated that pornography or adult content be flagged as NSFW (Not Safe for Work), and that users must opt-in to these kinds of communities.

Readers: What do you think of the changes Reddit is going through?

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