Reddit CEO Confirms Hate Speech NOT Against The Rules

Reddit CEO Confirms Hate Speech NOT Against The Rules

The fourth-largest website in the United States, Reddit has come under significant fire this week with allegations being levelled at the company of being socially negligent in the moderation of their forums. The comments came from CEO Steve Huffman’s own Reddit account when posed the following question:

“I need clarification on something,” a user asked. “Is obvious open racism, including slurs, against reddit’s rules or not?”

Huffman replied from his Reddit account, “It’s not.”

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In a world where social responsibility is taken very seriously by companies around the world, Reddit bucks the trend somewhat by not having as strict enforcement of bullying or hate speech. An extract from Reddit’s policies reads:

Do not threaten, harass, or bully

“We do not tolerate the harassment of people on our site, nor do we tolerate communities dedicated to fostering harassing behaviour.

Harassment on Reddit is defined as systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation or fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.”

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As such, Reddit does not have a policy protecting its users from hate speech, which is severely against the norm these days. Companies such as Facebook, Instagram; Twitter; Google, YouTube; Tumblr; Snapchat; LinkedIn; Pinterest; Yahoo; Microsoft, Steam; Amazon and Twitch; eBay; Imgur; and even Pornhub adopt and enforce strict rules. Reddit is a blaring omission from this list.

Huffman elaborated on his initial comments:

“On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behaviour from beliefs. This means on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so. When users’ actions conflict with our content policies, we take action,”

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Reddit has made significant moves in the past few months severely moderating and removing communities with themes such as extremism,sex work and drug use. Many believe that an amendment to its harassment policy to address hate speech is just around the corner.

What do you think? Should and will Reddit fall in line with the rest of the world or would such represent over-policing on a platform that has always promoted free-speech?

H/T: Gizmodo