Reddit has announced a change in its content policy, and will now ban subreddits spreading racial hate. Coontown, WatchNiggersDie and a few other related subreddits have been banned following the announcement.
It is a big change from Reddit's previous interim CEO, Ellen Pao, who did not want to ban subreddits based on ideas. Even the new CEO Steve Huffman said the content doesn’t break any rules only a week ago, but is now saying racist content makes Reddit “worst for everyone else.”
Not all subreddits spreading hate will be subject to a ban. Huffman said that some will be put in quarantine, where users have to opt-in to view the content. These subreddits will not feature adverts, which should make Reddit's ad-portfolio look better.
“Our policies are not changing dramatically from what we have had in the past. One new concept is Quarantining a community, which entails applying a set of restrictions to a community so its content will only be viewable to those who explicitly opt in. We will Quarantine communities whose content would be considered extremely offensive to the average redditor.”
Having an opt-in system may stop the growth of these subreddits, since they will not be shown on the front page. Some Redditors have argued these rules could be abused, with Reddit quarantining subreddits that appear on the surface to be hateful, but do not break any rules.
Other Redditors have spoken on the subject of clarity, asking why some racist subreddits were banned but others quarantined or kept active. Subreddits like /r/nazi, /r/Kitetown, /r/GoEbola, /r/blackpeoplehate and a few others continue to be active, despite spewing hate.
Reddit is definitely looking to clean up its service for advertisers, but the new rules could shut down some of the toxic spew that is released from “the front page of the Internet” everyday. This would not only make it a more inviting community, but allow diverse cultures to start spending more time on Reddit without being singled out by subreddits.