So the new Reddit CEO — returning co-founder Steve “Spez” Huffman — announced the site’s much-anticipated new content guidelines today, and to say that they are disappointing is a bit of an understatement.
Essentially, he told the site’s many varieties of bigots that they could continue to spout their various bigotries on Reddit without repercussions, so long as they didn’t actually threaten to, you know, go out and murder or otherwise physically harm people whose sexual preferences or skin color or religion (or whatever) didn’t meet their approval.
Only now the bigots will be posting on Reddit s dime.
Reddit’s new policy on hate speech is to make hateful content “opt-in,” like the site’s NSFW subreddits are now. Oh, and to not embarrass the site’s advertisers by running ads next to blatantly hateful garbage.
As Huffman explained in a posting on Reddit, under the new policy
it’s ok to say “I don’t like this group of people.” It’s not ok to say, “I’m going to kill this group of people.”
Hateful content — or, as Reddit euphemistically puts it, “content that violates a common sense of decency” — will be “reclassified” but not banned. The “indecent” stuff
will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit.
What this means in practical terms, Huffman explained in a followup comment, is that
r/rapingwomen will be banned. They are encouraging people to rape.
r/coontown will be reclassified. The content there is offensive to many, but does not violate our current rules for banning.
So, yeah, Reddit’s grand plan to deal with its bigots is to … subsidize them.
I can’t even.
Adding to the repugnance of this “hide the hate, but keep hosting it” policy is the fact that, in the wake of the #RedditRevolt against now ex-CEO Ellen Pao, and Dylan Roof’s racist murders in Charlestown, South Carolina, /coontown and other blatantly racist subreddits have seen a giant boost in traffic, with more than 18,000 subscribers and roughly 200,000 page views a day.
As MrTomFTW noted in a posting on r/GamerGhazi, r/coontown is
closing in to matching Stormfront’s traffic. This means that Reddit could soon be host to the largest active white supremacist forum on the Internet.
Actually, that’s understating things a little. If you add Reddit’s other racist subreddits into the mix, Reddit is already the number one destination for white supremacists looking for a place to talk online.
And Reddit will keep footing the bill.