Social media platform Reddit adopted new rules against “hate speech” that discriminate against certain people based on their race, gender, religion, and other characteristics.
Reddit seems to be the first tech company to do so openly, though there’s evidence that other companies have done so surreptitiously.
Reddit used to have no hate speech policy. The platform was based on the concept that individual communities (subreddits) largely set their own rules and police themselves.
On June 29, Reddit announced that it has adopted a site-wide policy against “Promoting Hate Based on Identity or Vulnerability.”
“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.”
The catch is, Reddit gets to determine which races, religions, and gender are “marginalized or vulnerable” and which are not.
“While the rule on hate protects such groups, it does not protect all groups or all forms of identity,” the rule says. “For example, the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate.”
Reddit didn’t respond to a request for clarification on what race, gender, and religion it considers to be the “majority.”
Google, FacebookThere’s evidence that other internet companies have adopted similar measures.
A leaked internal document said that algorithmic “unfairness” related to “unjust or prejudicial treatment that is related to sensitive characteristics such as race, income, sexual orientation, or gender, though algorithmic systems or algorithmically aided decision-making.”
But Gennai made clear her job was to bring “fairness” only to certain people, based on whether they belong to a group Google deems “historically marginalized.”
“Communities who are in power and have traditionally been in power are not who I’m solving fairness for,” she was recorded as saying.
Reddit seems to be the first company to openly spell out discrimination based on race and other characteristics in its policies.
Reddit PurgeAlong with the policy announcement, Reddit banned about 2,000 subreddits. Most of them were small and inactive, but there were several major forums, including darkhumorandmemes and darkjokecentral as well as the socialist forum ChapoTrapHouse, gendercritical (a forum for feminists that oppose self-assumed female identity), and consumeproduct (a forum critical of consumerism, corporate political pandering, pornography, and homosexuality).
Also banned was The_Donald, a fan club of President Donald Trump with more than 790,000 subscribers. The subreddit used to be the largest internet forum of Trump supporters, but was virtually shut down by its own moderators in February after Reddit removed about half of the moderators for breaking Reddit rules.