Reddit reported an 18 percent reduction in hate content after banning nearly 7,000 subreddits

Reddit reported an 18 percent reduction in hate content after banning nearly 7,000 subreddits


In June this year, Reddit started a massive campaign to remove hateful content from its website, blocking communities that engage in hate speech and harassment.

In an update on its progress today, the company said it had banned nearly 7,000 subreddits (including repeat offenders) resulting in an 18 percent drop in users posting hateful content.

“While I would love that number to be 100 percent, I’m encouraged by the progress,” wrote a Reddit user u/worstnerd, a member of the Corporate Security team.

Related: How To Delete Reddit Account on Browser or Smartphone

The progress is part of a major change on Reddit after the site introduced a new policy that explicitly prohibits hate speech and promises to strictly enforce it. Reddit has long been criticized for tolerating racist and misogynistic content, with the site's executive defending its position as an enforcer of free speech. In the past, that meant tolerating communities sharing stolen nude photos, or videos of domestic violence, or promoting ideologies like white nationalism.

As part of its new stance, Reddit said it would study the spread of hate speech on the site more closely. Before the “ban wave” that began in June, the company said about 40,000 potentially hateful content was shared each day, making up about 0.2 percent of all content. These posts, comments, and messages garner approximately 6.47 million views or approximately 0.16 percent of total daily views. (The percentage of views was smaller because moderation bots removed some content before anyone saw it.) The company didn't say how these numbers changed as a result of the wave of bans.

reddit user ban

The company also said that half (48 percent) of all hateful content on the site targets a person's ethnicity or nationality. That was followed by their class or political affiliation (16 percent), their sexuality (12 percent), gender (10 percent), or their religion (6 percent), while 1 percent of hate content targeted ability, and 7 percent had no clear target.

Reddit says these figures are preliminary and will offer more detailed data in the future. But it is emphasized that gathering such information is very challenging on a large scale.

“Sometimes hate can be very overt, other times it can be more subtle. In other circumstances, historically marginalized groups may reclaim language and use it in a way that is acceptable for them, but unacceptable for others to use,” wrote u/worstnerd. “Additionally, people are weirdly creative about how to be mean to each other. They evolve their language to make it challenging for outsiders (and models) to understand.”

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