Reddit (/ˈrɛdɪt/, stylized in its logo as reddit) is an American
social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.
Registered members submit content to the site such as links, text
posts, and images, which are then voted up or down by other members.
Posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called
"subreddits", which cover a variety of topics including news, science,
movies, video games, music, books, fitness, food, and image-sharing.
Submissions with more up-votes appear towards the top of their
subreddit and, if they receive enough votes, ultimately on the site's
front page. Despite strict rules prohibiting harassment, Reddit's
administrators spend considerable resources on moderating the site.
As of February 2018,
Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors (234
million unique users), ranking as the #4 most visited website in U.S.
and #6 in the world, according to Alexa Internet, with 57.4% of its
user base coming from the United States, followed by the United
Kingdom at 7.5% and
Canada at 6.3%. Across 2015,
Reddit saw 82.54
billion pageviews, 73.15 million submissions, 725.85 million comments,
and 6.89 billion upvotes from its users.
Reddit was founded by
University of Virginia
University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman
Alexis Ohanian in 2005.
Condé Nast Publications
Condé Nast Publications acquired the site
in October 2006.
Reddit became a direct subsidiary of Condé Nast's
parent company, Advance Publications, in September 2011. As of August
Reddit operates as an independent entity, although Advance is
still its largest shareholder.
Reddit is based in San Francisco,
California. In October 2014,
Reddit raised $50 million in a funding
round led by
Sam Altman and including investors Marc Andreessen, Peter
Thiel, Ron Conway, Snoop Dogg, and Jared Leto. Their investment saw
the company valued at $500 million at the time. In July 2017,
Reddit raised an additional round of $200 million at a $1.8 billion
Advance Publications remaining the majority
1.2.1 April Fools' Day
3 Community and culture
3.1 Philanthropic efforts
3.2 Sociopolitical efforts
3.2.1 March for Science
3.2.2 Internet privacy, neutrality and anonymity
3.2.3 Cannabis legalization
3.3 Commercial activity
3.5 "Restoring Truthiness" campaign
5 See also
7 External links
The site is a collection of entries submitted by its registered users,
essentially a bulletin board system. The name "Reddit" is a
play-on-words with the phrase "read it", i.e., "I read it on
Reddit." The site's content is divided into numerous categories,
and the most popular posts from these 'subreddits' are visible on the
front page to those who browse the site without an account. As of May
2016[update], there are over 11,400 active subreddits.
When items (links or text posts) are submitted to a subreddit, the
users, called "redditors", can vote for or against them
(upvote/downvote). Each subreddit has a front page that shows newer
submissions that have been rated highly. Redditors can also post
comments about the submission, and respond back and forth in a
conversation-tree of comments; the comments themselves can also be
upvoted and downvoted. The front page of the site itself shows a
combination of the highest-rated posts out of all the subreddits a
user is subscribed to.
Front-page rank—for both the general front page and for individual
subreddits—is determined by the age of the submission, positive
("upvoted") to negative ("downvoted") feedback ratio and the total
vote-count. Dozens of submissions cycle through these front pages
The site's logo and its mascot is a line drawing of an alien nicknamed
"Snoo". Subreddits often use themed variants of Snoo relevant to the
Although most of the site functions like a bulletin board or message
board, each subreddit has the option of having an associated wiki that
can provide supplementary material like instructions, recommended
reading, or collaboration for real-life events.
Registering an account with
Reddit is free and does not require an
email address to complete. As of June 2015[update], there were 36
million user accounts. When logged in,
Reddit users (known as
redditors) have the ability to vote on submissions and comments to
increase or decrease their visibility and submit links and comments.
Users with enough experience and "karma" (see below) can also create
their own subreddit on a topic of their choosing, and interested users
can add it to their front page by subscribing to it.
and submissions are occasionally abbreviated and peppered with jargon,
ranging from OP (for "Original Poster"—the user who posted the
submission being commented upon) to NSFW (for "not safe for
work"—indicating the post has graphic or sexually explicit
Users earn "post karma" and "comment karma" for submitting text
posts, link posts, and comments, which accumulate as point values on
their user profile. "Post karma" refers to karma points received from
text and link posts, while "comment karma" refers to karma points
received from comments. Users may also be gifted "
Reddit gold" if
another user particularly valued the comment or post, generally due to
humorous or high-quality content; this process is known as "gilding".
Reddit gold" unlocks several features not accessible to regular
users, such as comment highlighting, ad-blocking, exclusive
subreddits, and a personalized Snoo (known as a "snoovatar").
Reddit has also created a system of points called "creddits". Reddit
gold "creddits" are like gift certificates: each creddit a user has
allows them to give one month of
Reddit gold to someone else. The
points do not lead to a prize as they are meant to stand in as a badge
of honor for the user among their peers, although redditors have
attempted to redeem their points before.
Reddit also allows submissions that do not link externally. These are
called "self posts" or "text submissions". Many discussion-based
subreddits allow only text-only submissions such as
"AskReddit"—where users are only allowed to pose broad, discussion
based questions to the community at large. Self posts previously did
not accumulate karma points for the submitter. As of July
2016[update], however, these text-only posts also generate post
Mister Splashy Pants
Mister Splashy Pants logo used on November 27, 2007
Reddit communities occasionally coordinate Reddit-external projects
such as skewing polls on other websites, such as in 2007 when
Greenpeace allowed web users to decide the name of a humpback whale it
Reddit users voted en masse to name the whale "Mr.
Splashy Pants", and
Reddit administrators further encouraged this by
changing the site logo to a whale during the voting. In December of
Mister Splashy Pants
Mister Splashy Pants was announced as the winner of the
Within the site, redditors commemorate their "cake day" once a year,
which is the anniversary of the day the user's account was first
created. The "cake day" offers no special benefit, except that a small
icon representing a slice of cake appears next to that user's name for
24 hours. Redditors can "friend" one another, which gives a
redditor quick access to posting and comments of their friend list.
The commenting system and friend system, along with a certain "Reddit
ethos" (called reddiquette on Reddit), lend
Reddit aspects of a social
networking service, though not to the extent of Facebook, Google+, and
other websites aimed at providing social networking services. The
Reddit community also socializes at meetups held at local parks and
bars around the world, and many localized subreddits for local
in-person meetings exist.
Nathan Allen speaks about
/r/science to the American Chemical Society
Reddit entries are organized into user-created areas of interest
called "subreddits". Originally, there was a primary "main-reddit",
and other areas were "subreddits". There is now no longer a single
main-reddit. Initially, this was removed in favour of a selection of
"default subreddits". As of June 2017[update], this has been replaced
again with an introductory page prompting users to customize their
"subscriptions". Subscribed subreddits appear on the user's front
page and on a top navigation bar, and can deal with a large range of
topics—such as video games, books, discussion, and music.
There are over 11,400 active total subreddits to peruse,
including the former default set of 50 subreddits. The site also
includes an aggregation of content termed "/r/popular", featuring top
ranked posts across all of Reddit, with the exception of controversial
subreddits (including both pro and anti-Trump communities, as well as
those related to Gamergate). This replaced "/r/all", which doesn't
filter controversial topics; it is still accessible via an "All" link
at the top of /r/popular.
In an interview with Memeburn, Erik Martin,
Reddit GM, noted that the
platform's "approach is to give the community moderators or curators
as much control as possible so that they can shape and cultivate the
type of communities they want".
Particularly notable subreddits include the following:
/r/changemyview, a forum for discussing various topics for the purpose
of understanding opposing viewpoints
/r/IAmA, a forum for user-driven question-and-answer interviews
/r/science, a forum for discussing science
/r/The_Donald, a community supporting the politics of Donald Trump
April Fools' Day
The Button (Reddit)
The Button (Reddit) and Place (Reddit)
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day 2015, a social experiment was launched in the form
of a subreddit called /r/thebutton. It featured a button and a
60-second countdown timer. User accounts created before that day were
eligible to participate. A user could only ever click the button once,
or opt not to click it. If a user clicked the button the timer was
globally reset to 60 seconds, and the user's "flair" (an icon next
to the user's name) changed color. Colors were assigned based on a
gradient from purple to red with purple signifying up to 60 seconds
and red as low as 0 seconds. The countdown prematurely reached zero
several times due to technical problems but eventually expired without
further problems on June 5, 2015, after which the subreddit was
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day 2016, a similar experiment was launched, centered
around the "Robin" chat widget. After clicking a titular button, an
IRC-like chat window was initially opened with one other user and gave
a certain time to pick between three options, "Grow," "Stay" and
"Leave". "Grow" would join the chat with another group, "Stay"
would close the group chat and create a subreddit with that group as
moderators and "Leave" would close the group chat.
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day 2017 featured another social experiment based around
/r/place. The subreddit contained a collaborative pixel art canvas,
where a user could place a pixel every five minutes (the timer was
temporarily ten and twenty minutes for a few hours on April 1).
Many people worked together to create large graphics, such as flags or
symbols. Often subreddits would come together as a group to add a
graphic from that community to place. Place was closed on April 3,
2017 at 1:00 PM
GMT having been active for a full three days.
For April Fools Day' 2018, another experiment launched on the
subreddit /r/circleoftrust. Upon clicking a button, each user would be
given one "circle" that they can entrust others with the circle's
password key to unlock and join the circle. While each user only
receives one personal circle, users can join or betray any other
users' circles. Clicking the "join" button on another's circle would
cause the owner's circle to grow bigger, while the "betray" button
would cause the owner's circle to no longer function (having
"betrayed" the owner's trust). On the /r/circleoftrust subreddit, all
users have a "flair" next to their username that displays the number
of users who've joined their personal circle, followed by the number
of other circles the user has joined. Those who have betrayed another
user's circle would then have a null sign ("∅") next to their
Further information: Timeline of Reddit
Alexis Ohanian speaking in 2009
In June 2005,
Reddit was founded in Medford, Massachusetts by
Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, both 22-year-old graduates of the
University of Virginia. The team expanded to include Christopher
Slowe in November 2005. Between November 2005 and January 2006, Reddit
merged with Aaron Swartz's company Infogami, and Swartz became an
equal owner of the resulting parent company, Not A Bug. Condé
Nast Publications, owner of Wired, acquired
Reddit on October 31,
2006, and the team moved to San Francisco. In January 2007, Swartz
By the end of 2008, the team had grown to include Erik Martin, Jeremy
Edberg, David King, and Mike Schiraldi. In 2009, Huffman
and Ohanian moved on to form Hipmunk, recruiting Slowe and
King shortly thereafter. In May 2010,
Reddit was named in
Lead411's "2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies" list. In July
2010, after explosive traffic growth,
offering new features for a price of $3.99/month or $29.99/year.
Reddit Gold adds a number of features to the interface, including the
ability to display more comments on a page, access to the private
"lounge" subreddit, and notifications whenever one's username is
mentioned in a comment. It's also possible to endow comments or
submissions of other users and thereby give a gold membership to them
as an anonymous present.
On September 6, 2011,
Reddit became operationally independent of
Condé Nast, now operating as a separate subsidiary of its parent
company, Advance Publications. On January 11, 2012, Reddit
announced that it would be participating in a 12-hour sitewide
blackout in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The blackout
occurred on January 18 and coincided with the blackouts of
and several other websites. In May 2012,
Reddit joined the Internet
Defense League, a group formed to organize future protests. On
February 14, 2013,
Reddit began accepting the digital currency Bitcoin
Reddit Gold subscription service through a partnership with
bitcoin payment processor Coinbase.
In October 2014,
Reddit announced Redditmade, a service which allowed
moderators to create merchandise for their subreddits. Redditmade
closed in February 2015. In November 2014, Chief Executive Yishan
Wong resigned and co-founder Ohanian returned as the full-time
executive chairman. Ellen Pao, Reddit's business and partnerships
strategist replaced Wong, becoming the interim chief executive. On
July 10, 2015, Pao resigned in turn and was replaced by Steve Huffman
Reddit launched a new blocking tool in an attempt to curb online
harassment in April 2016. The tool allows a user to hide posts and
comments from selected redditors in addition to blocking private
messages from those redditors. The option to block a redditor is
done by clicking a button in the inbox.
Reddit had about 100 employees. By January 2017, their
number had increased to around 140, before further rising to 230 in
Reddit was originally written in
Common Lisp but was rewritten in
Python in December 2005. The reasons given for the switch were
wider access to code libraries and greater development flexibility.
The Python web framework that former
Reddit employee Swartz developed
to run the site, web.py, is now available as an open-source
project. As of November 10, 2009[update],
Reddit uses Pylons
as its web framework.
On June 18, 2008,
Reddit became an open source project, until
September 2017. With the exception of the anti-spam/cheating portions,
all of the code and libraries written for
Reddit had been freely
available on GitHub. As of September 1, 2017[update],
Reddit's main code repositories, backing its desktop and mobile
websites, are no longer open source.
Users can contribute to translating
Reddit into 89 languages using the
localization management platform Crowdin.
As of November 10, 2009[update],
Reddit has decommissioned their
physical servers and migrated to Amazon Web Services.
PostgreSQL as their primary datastore and is slowly moving to Apache
Cassandra, a column-oriented datastore. It uses
RabbitMQ for offline
HAProxy for load balancing and memcached for caching. In
Reddit started using jQuery. On June 7, 2010, Reddit
staff launched a revamped mobile interface featuring rewritten CSS, a
new color scheme, and a multitude of improvements.
On July 21, 2010,
Reddit outsourced the
Reddit search engine to
Flaptor, who used its search product IndexTank. As of
July 12, 2012[update],
Reddit uses Amazon CloudSearch. There
are several unofficial applications that use the
API in the
Google Play store, and
F-Droid repository. Examples include:
Fun, Andreddit, F5, BaconReader,
Reddit Sync and an
Android tablet specific application called Reddita. There are also
several Windows apps used to access Reddit, including unofficial
Reddit apps such as ReddHub and
Reddit To Go!. An unofficial
desktop application Reditr exists that is compatible with Windows,
OS X, Linux and ChromeOS.
There are several
Reddit applications for iOS. These include Karma,
Upvote, iReddit, iPad-specific applications such as Reddzine and
Biscuit, and, until April 2016, Alien Blue. In September 2014, an
official mobile application for browsing AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads
was released for the iOS and Android platforms under the name Ask me
Anything. In October 2014,
Alien Blue was acquired by
became the official iOS
Reddit app. In April 2016,
an official application called Reddit: The Official App, which is
Google Play and the iOS App Store, and
Alien Blue was
removed from the App Store in favor of the new app.
Community and culture
The website is known for its open nature and diverse user community
that generate its content. Its demographics allows for
wide-ranging subject areas, or main subreddits, that receive much
attention, as well as the ability for smaller subreddits to serve more
niche purposes. For example, the University of Reddit, a subreddit
that exists to communally teach, emerged from the ability to enter and
leave the online forum, the "classroom", at will, and classes ranging
from computer science to music, to fine art theory exist. The
unique possibilities that subreddits provide create new opportunities
for raising attention and fostering discussion across many areas. In
gaining popularity in terms of unique users per day,
Reddit has been a
platform for many to raise publicity for a number of causes. And with
that increased ability to garner attention and a large audience, users
can use one of the largest communities on the Internet for new,
revolutionary, and influential purposes.
Additionally, the userbase of
Reddit has given birth to other
websites, including image sharing community and image host Imgur,
which started in 2009 as a gift to Reddit's community. In its
first five months, it jumped from a thousand hits per day to a million
total page views.
Statistics from Google Ad Planner suggest that 74% of
Reddit users are
male. In 2016 the Pew Research Center published research showing
that 4% of U.S. adults use reddit, of which 67% are men. 78% of users
get news from Reddit. Users tend to be significantly younger than
average with less than 1% of users being 65 or over.
Its popularity has enabled users to take unprecedented advantage of
such a large community. Its innovative socially ranked rating and
sorting system drives a method that is useful for fulfilling certain
goals of viewership or simply finding answers to interesting
questions. User sentiments about the website's function and structure
include feelings about the breadth and depth of the discussions on
Reddit and how the site makes it easy to discover new and interesting
items. Almost all of the user reviews on Alexa.com, which rates
Reddit's monthly unique traffic rating 125th in the United States,
mention Reddit's "good content" as a likable quality. However, others
raise the negative aspects of the potential for Reddit's communities
to possess a "hive mind" of sorts, embodying some negative aspects
of group interaction theories like crowd psychology and collective
Reddit has been known as the instigator of several charity projects,
some short and others long-term, in order to benefit others. A
selection of major events are outlined below:
In early October 2010, a story was posted on
Reddit about a
seven-year-old girl, Kathleen Edward, who was in the advanced stages
of Huntington's disease. The girl's neighbors were taunting her and
her family. Redditors banded together and gave the girl a shopping
spree at Tree Town Toys, a toy store local to the story owned
In early December 2010, members of the Christianity subreddit decided
to hold a fundraiser and later members of the atheism subreddit
decided to give some friendly competition, cross-promoting
fundraising drives for World Vision's Clean Water Fund and Doctors
Without Borders, respectively. Later, the Islam subreddit joined in,
raising money for Islamic Relief. In less than a week, the three
communities (as well as the
Reddit community at large) raised over
$50,000. Most of this was raised by the atheism subreddit, though
the smaller Christianity subreddit had a higher average donation
amount per subscriber. A similar donation drive in 2011 saw the
atheism subreddit raise over $200,000 for charity.
Reddit started the largest
Secret Santa program in the world, which is
still in operation to date. For the 2010 Holiday season, 92 countries
were involved in the
Secret Santa program. There were 17,543
participants, and $662,907.60 was collectively spent on gift purchases
and shipping costs. In 2014, about 200,000 users from
188 countries participated. Several celebrities have participated
in the program, including Bill Gates and Snoop Dogg.
Secret Santa program expanded to various other
occasions through Redditgifts.
Reddit donated over $600,000 to
DonorsChoose in support
of Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive. The donation spree
broke previous records for the most money donated to a single cause by
Reddit community and resulted in an interview with Colbert on
Reddit users donated $185,356 to
Direct Relief for Haiti after an
earthquake devastated the nation in January 2010.
Reddit users donated over $70,000 to the Faraja Orphanage in the first
24 hours to help secure the orphanage after intruders robbed and
attacked one of the volunteers, who survived a strike to the head from
In October 2012, "Shitty Watercolour", a popular Redditor known for
posting watercolor paintings on the website, streamed
live a 12-hour painting session on
YouTube to raise money for charity:
water, a non-profit organization which aims to provide potable
drinking water in developing countries. Redditors donated a minimum of
$10 to have a photo of their choice painted in a 5 by 5 centimetres
(2.0 by 2.0 in) square section of large sheets of
paper. The paint-a-thon raised $2,700.
In February 2014,
Reddit announced it would be donating 10% of its
annual ad revenue to non-profits voted upon by its users.
Reddit continued this policy for 2015, donating $82,765 each to
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of
America, Doctors Without Borders, Erowid Center, Wikimedia Foundation,
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, NPR, Free
Software Foundation, Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Tor
In response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, redditors raised more than
Direct Relief and more than $110,000 for MAP
See also: Digital citizen, Netizen, and Online social movement
Reddit's model could be seen as to having sociopolitical aspects. It
is built upon crowdsourcing, user generated content, sharing,
altruism, gamification, social reputation and social
relevance (opposed to monetary return), participation, freedom of
speech, openness, participatory and/or self-governance, new forms
of interaction (e.g. #IAmA and AMA) and collective intelligence. The
site has been used for a wide variety of political purposes including
the presidential campaigns of
Barack Obama and Donald
Trump. It has also been used for self-organizing
sociopolitical activism such as protests, communication with
politicians and active communities.
Reddit has become a prime location
for people worldwide to openly discuss politics.
March for Science
Main article: March for Science
March for Science
March for Science originated from a discussion on reddit that
informed about all references to climate change having been deleted
from the White House website about which a user commented that "There
needs to be a Scientists' March on Washington".
Internet privacy, neutrality and anonymity
Many reddit users are highly engaged in the defense of Internet
privacy, net neutrality and Internet anonymity. In advance of
legislations that endanger these redditors typically set up pages to
organize protest, create and curate content (e.g. media), call
responsible authorities and inform about their issues and e.g.
relevant tools and organizations.
On January 11, 2012,
Reddit announced that it would be participating
in a 12-hour sitewide blackout in protest of the Stop Online Piracy
Act. The blackout occurred on January 18 and coincided with the
blackouts of and several other websites. In May 2012, Reddit
joined the Internet Defense League, a group formed to organize future
Further information: Drug liberalization
A majority of the site's users seems to support legalization of
The subreddit dedicated to cannabis culture /r/trees is most active in
this regard and often organizes, coordinates or supports drug reform
In 2010, the site ran ads promoting marijuana legalization without
charge after Conde Nast stated that they do not want to benefit
financially from this particular issue.
In February 2013, Betabeat published a post that recognized the influx
of multi-national corporations like Costco, Taco Bell, Subaru, and
McDonald's posting branded content on
Reddit that was made to appear
as if it was original content from legitimate
Reddit's former Director of Communications noted that while a large
number of Chief Marketing Officers want to "infiltrate the reddit
community on behalf of their brand," she emphasized that
"self-promotion is frowned upon" and the site is "100 percent
organic." She recommended that advertisers design
promotions that "spark conversations and feedback." She
recommended that businesses use AMAs to get attention for public
figures but cautioned "It is important to approach AMAs carefully and
be aware that this may not be a fit for every project or client."
Nissan ran a successful branded content promotion offering users free
gifts to publicize a new car, though the company was later
ridiculed for suspected astroturfing when the
CEO only answered puff
piece questions on the site. Taylor described these
situations as "high risk" noting: "We try hard to educate people that
they have to treat questions that may seem irreverent or out of left
field the same as they would questions about the specific project they
Reddit's users are more privacy-conscious than on other websites,
using tools like
AdBlock and proxies, and they hate "feeling
manipulated by brands" but respond well to "content that begs for
intelligent viewers and participants." Lauren Orsini writes in
ReadWrite that "Reddit's huge community is the perfect hype machine
for promoting a new movie, a product release, or a lagging political
campaign" but "very specific set of etiquette. Redditors don't want to
advertise for you, they want to talk to you." Journalists have
used the site as a basis for stories, though they are advised by the
site's policies to respect that "reddit's communities belong to their
members" and to seek proper attribution for people's
Reddit announced that they would begin using
VigLink to redirect
affiliate links in June 2016.
Also known as the "
Slashdot effect", the
Reddit effect occurs when a
smaller website has a high influx of traffic after being linked to on
Reddit. It is also called the "
Reddit Hug of Death" among the
website's users. Because
Reddit is such a large site, the traffic is
immense and can easily crash smaller sites. In order for users to see
crashed websites, several
Reddit bots have been created that take a
snapshot of the website before large amounts of traffic flood the
"Restoring Truthiness" campaign
As a response to Glenn Beck's August 28, 2010, Restoring Honor rally
(heavily promoted by him in his
Fox News broadcasts during the
summer), in September 2010
Reddit users started a movement to persuade
Stephen Colbert to have a counter-rally in Washington,
D.C. The movement, which came to be called "Restoring
Truthiness", was started by user mrsammercer, in a post where he
described waking up from a dream in which
Stephen Colbert was holding
a satirical rally in D.C. He writes, "This would be the high
water mark of American satire. Half a million people pretending to
suspend all rational thought in unison. Perfect harmony. It'll feel
like San Francisco in the late 60s, only we won't be able to get any
The idea resonated with the
Reddit community, which launched a
campaign to bring the event to life. Over $600,000 was raised for
charity to gain the attention of Colbert. The campaign was mentioned
on-air several times, and when the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
was held in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2010, thousands of
redditors made the journey.
During a post-rally press conference,
Reddit co-founder Ohanian asked,
"What role did the Internet campaign play in convincing you to hold
Jon Stewart responded by saying that, though it was a
very nice gesture, the two had already thought of the idea prior and
the deposit on using the National Mall was already paid during the
summer, so it acted mostly as a "validation of what we were thinking
about attempting". In a message to the
Reddit community, Colbert
later added, "I have no doubt that your efforts to organize and the
joy you clearly brought to your part of the story contributed greatly
to the turnout and success."
See also: Controversial
The website generally lets moderators on individual subreddits make
editorial decisions about what content to allow, and has a history of
permitting some subreddits dedicated to controversial content.
Many of the default pages are highly moderated, with the "science"
subreddit banning climate change denialism, and the "news"
subreddit banning opinion pieces and columns.
Reddit has changed
its site-wide editorial policies several times, sometimes in reaction
Reddit has had a history of
giving a platform to objectionable but legal content, and in 2011,
news media covered the way that jailbait was being shared on the site
before the site changed their policies to explicitly ban "suggestive
or sexual content featuring minors". Following some controversial
incidents of Internet vigilantism,
Reddit introduced a strict rule
against the publication of non-public personally-identifying
information via the site (colloquially known as doxxing). Those who
break the rule are subject to a site-wide ban, and their posts and
even entire communities may be removed for breaking the rule.
On December 16, 2010, a redditor named Matt posted a link describing
how he has donated a kidney, and included a JustGive link to encourage
users to give donations to the American Cancer Society. After an
initially positive reaction,
Reddit users began to become suspicious
of Matt's intentions, and suggested that he was keeping the donations
for himself. Users telephoned his home and he received death threats.
Matt eventually proved that he was genuine by uploading his doctor's
On October 18, 2011, an IT manager submitted a post to the subreddit
"gameswap" offering Redditors to trade one of 312 codes he had been
given for the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A group of users
obtained his personal details, and began to blackmail him for the
codes. The Monday after uploading the post, he received 138
threatening phone calls both at home and at his job, and by the end of
the day he had been fired.
Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings,
Reddit faced criticism
after users wrongly identified a number of people as suspects.
Notable among misidentified bombing suspects was Sunil Tripathi, a
student reported missing before the bombings took place. A body
reported to be Sunil's was found in
Providence River in Rhode Island
on April 25, 2013, according to
Rhode Island Health Department. The
cause of death was not immediately known, but authorities said they
did not suspect foul play. The family later confirmed Tripathi's
death was a result of suicide.
Reddit general manager Martin
later issued an apology for this behavior, criticizing the "online
witch hunts and dangerous speculation" that took place on the
website. The incident was later referenced in the season 5
episode of the CBS TV series
The Good Wife
The Good Wife titled "Whack-a-Mole,"
as well as The Newsroom.
In late October 2013, the moderators of the "politics" subreddit
banned a large group of websites. Many were left-wing opinion
websites, such as Mother Jones, The Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet,
Rawstory, The Daily Kos, Truthout, Media Matters, and
well as some popular progressive blog sites, such as Democratic
Underground and Crooks and Liars. They also banned a number of
right-wing sites—Drudge Report, Breitbart, The Daily Caller,
Dailypaul, Power Line, and Reason. Salon reported that "the section's
moderators explained in a post on Tuesday, the goal is 'to reduce the
number of blogspam submissions and sensationalist titles.' The purge,
the moderators explained, is also aimed at sites that provide lots of
"bad journalism." The December 2013 list of banned websites has
been modified since late October, and sites with original content,
such as Mother Jones and The Huffington Post, are allowed.
Moderators also banned RT, which moderators stated was due to vote
manipulation and spam, though one moderator stated that he wanted RT
banned because it is
In August 2014, photos from the
2014 celebrity photo hack were widely
disseminated across the site. A dedicated subreddit,
"TheFappening," was created for this purpose, and contained links
to most if not all of the criminally obtained explicit
images. Some images of Liz Lee and McKayla
Maroney from the leak were identified by redditors and outside
commentators as child pornography because the photos were taken when
the women were underage. The subreddit was banned on September
6. The scandal led to wider criticisms concerning the website's
The Verge and The Daily Dot.
Also in August 2014, moderators and administrators removed a sizeable
amount of content related to the Gamergate controversy; one thread in
the "gaming" subreddit lost almost 24,000 comments. This included
the subreddit "ZoeQuinnDiscussion", which was banned for violating the
Reddit rules. Administrators attributed the bans to
raiding threads and causing harm, the accuracy of which was debated by
On December 18, 2014,
Reddit took the unusual step of banning a
subreddit, "SonyGOP," that was being used to distribute hacked Sony
Ellen Pao became CEO, she was initially a target of criticism by
users who objected to her lawsuit. Later on June 10, 2015, Reddit
shut down the 150,000-subscriber "fatpeoplehate" subreddit and four
others citing issues related to harassment. This move was seen as
very controversial; some commenters said that the bans went too far,
while others said that the bans did not go far enough. One of the
latter complaints concerned a subreddit that was "expressing support"
for the perpetrator of the Charleston church shooting. Responding
to the accusations of "skewed enforcement",
Reddit reaffirmed their
commitment to free expression and stated that "There are some
subreddits with very little viewership that get highlighted repeatedly
for their content, but those are a tiny fraction of the content on the
On July 2, 2015,
Reddit began experiencing a series of blackouts as
moderators set popular subreddit communities to private, in an event
dubbed "AMAgeddon," a portmanteau of AMA ("ask me anything") and
Armageddon. This was done in protest of the recent firing of Victoria
Taylor, an administrator who helped organize citizen-led interviews
with famous people on the popular "Ask me Anything" subreddit.
Organizers of the blackout also expressed resentment about the recent
severance of the communication between
Reddit and the moderators of
subreddits. The blackout intensified on July 3 when former
community manager David Croach gave an AMA about being fired. Before
deleting his posts, he stated that
Ellen Pao dismissed him with one
year of health coverage when he had cancer and did not recover quickly
enough. Following this, a
Change.org petition to remove Pao
Reddit Inc. reached over 200,000 signatures.
Pao posted a response on July 3 as well as an extended version of it
on July 6 in which she apologized for bad communication and not
delivering on promises. She also apologized on behalf of the other
administrators and noted that problems already existed over the past
several years. On July 10, Pao resigned as
was replaced by former
CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman.
In August 2015,
Steve Huffman introduced a policy which led to the
banning of several offensive and sexual communities. Included in the
ban was lolicon which Huffman referred to as "animated CP". Some
subreddits had also been quarantined due to having "highly-offensive
or upsetting content", such as /r/European, /r/swedenyes,
/r/drawpeople, /r/kiketown, /r/blackfathers, /r/greatapes, and
In May 2016,
Steve Huffman said on an interview at the TNW
Conference that, unlike Facebook, which "only knows what [its users
are] willing to declare publicly",
Reddit knows its users' "dark
secrets" at the same time that the website's "values"
page was updated in regards to its "privacy" section. The video
reached the top of the website's main feed. Shortly
thereafter, announcements concerning new advertisement content drew
criticism on the website.
In September 2016, a Redditor named mormondocuments released thousands
of administrative documents belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, an action driven by the ex-Mormon and atheist
communities of that site. Previously, on April 22 of that year, the
same Redditor had announced his plans to do so. Church officials
commented that the documents did not contain anything
On November 23, 2016,
Steve Huffman admitted to modifying the contents
of many public user comments on
Reddit that he disliked. He
did so by changing insulting comments made towards him and made it
appear as if the insult were directed at the moderators of the
On November 24, 2016, the
Washington Post reported
Reddit had banned
the "Pizzagate" conspiracy board from their site stating it violated
their policy of posting personal information of others, triggering a
wave of criticism from users on /r/The_Donald, who felt the ban
amounted to censorship. The
Reddit forum /r/pizzagate was devoted
to a conspiracy theory derived from the
John Podesta leaked emails, a
theory that alleged the D.C. Pizzeria
Comet Ping Pong
Comet Ping Pong "is at the
center of a child-abuse ring tied to John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s
former campaign manager". After the forum was banned from Reddit,
the wording "We don't want witchhunts on our site" now appears on the
former page of the Pizzagate subreddit.
On November 30, 2016
Steve Huffman announced changes to the
algorithm of their /r/all page to block 'stickied' posts from a number
of subreddits, such as /r/The_Donald. In the announcement, the CEO
also apologized for personally editing posts by users from
/r/The_Donald, and declared intentions to take actions against
"hundreds of the most toxic users" of
Reddit and "communities whose
users continually cross the line".
In February 2017,
Reddit banned the alt-right subreddit (/r/altright)
for violating its terms of service, more specifically for attempting
to share personal information about the man who attacked alt-right
figure Richard B. Spencer. The forum's users and moderators
Reddit administrators of having political motivations for the
In March 2018, it was revealed that Reddit's
CEO had hidden Russian
troll activity from users.
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climate-change skeptics from "/r/science", his statements "do not
reflect the views of
Reddit as a whole, or other science or
climate-oriented subreddits. Each subreddit community is entitled to
its own views, and anyone who wants to start their own subreddit is
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Mitarbeiter eingeräumt, beim Unternehmen zu verbleiben –
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