Reddit Bans Hate Speech

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Reddit Bans Hate Speech

The year 2015 isn’t boring for social media website Reddit. Former CEO Ellen Pao resigned under a whirlwind of controversy.  That was followed by another whirlwind of trolling and bullying, much of it by Reddit users. Maybe that’s why Reddit takes this strong stand.

The strong stand I speak of is Reddit hate speech. Steve Huffman, the new Reddit CEO, rewrote the set of users’ policies and code of conduct. This new code includes ‘quarantining’ entire communities and banning abusive Reddit users. Quarantined communities will be banned from the general Reddit population. Only those who have access to the quarantined community is allowed in. This sort of censorship is geared toward communities that use extreme and abusive language. Huffman put this practice into motion. He banned Reddit community r/CoonTown and their sub-communities for their racist content. Huffman says these bans will be enforced on communities that, “…exist solely to annoy other redditors.” In a Reddit post, Huffman stated a few other Reddit communities have been quarantined for the same reason. Huffman also addressed those who are angered or annoyed at this newly enforced policy. He said Reddit leaders and staff already spend so much time dealing with disruptive communities that they’re losing time serving the other 99.98% of Reddit users.

I understand what Reddit is trying to do. The Ellen Pao controversy certainly opened up this can of worms with trolling. They want to make sure nothing like that happens to Reddit again. I get that. It’s too bad it took this to get Reddit to crack down on bullying and trolling. I believe in the First Amendment and free speech as much as any patriotic American. But I can’t stress this enough; with freedom comes responsibility. However, a line needs to be drawn between freedom and censorship. The question for Reddit is: Where is that line?

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