Shortly after CEO Ellen Pao resigned in 2015, Reddit showed it wasn’t afraid to ban subreddits it deemed objectionable. Now, it’s cracking down on them again. The ‘front page of the internet’ has just introduced a new policy change forbidding material that “encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people,” which has led to several Nazi, white supremacist, and self-harm subreddits being removed.
Reddit added that it would “also take action against content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals," and that the rules apply to all content, including text, memes, usernames, subreddit names, CSS, and community styling.
A post explaining the change notes that context will be taken into account, which means material that is considered educational, newsworthy, artistic, satire, part of a documentary, etc. will likely be okay. Additionally, anything considered borderline should use the NSFW tag. Reddit said the earlier policy was “too vague” and it needed something “more clear and comprehensive.”
Some of the subreddits banned as a result of the new policy include r/pol (an offshoot of the 4Chan board of the same name), r/NationalSocialism, r/Nazi, r/far_right, r/EuropeanNationalism, and r/DylannRoofInnocent. Most of the affected communities are small, containing between 25 to 7000 users.
Right now, the bans seem to be targeting the most extreme subreddits. Unsurprisingly, some users say the policy doesn’t go far enough and doesn't impact the bigger communities, while others are calling the move excessive censorship. CEO Steve Huffman will be doing an AMA next week, so expect him to be answering questions on the new rules.