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Reddit's IPO is a content moderation success story| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Redditors howled at these changes, and Wong's successor as CEO, Ellen Pao, was chased by a horde of angry users – but the company's turn toward respectability was an undeniable success. Reddit's image has gradually improved under a co-founder, Steve Huffman, who returned in 2015 to run the site as CEO, and Reddit was able to build the advertising-based business model that sustains it today.

In particular, I want to highlight three steps Reddit took to clean up its platform, which were instrumental in paving the way for the company's public debut.

First, the company targeted bad spaces, rather than bad individuals or bad positions.

Reddit, unlike other social media sites, is organized by topic; Users can join “subreddits” dedicated to gardening, anime, or dad jokes. That meant that once the company adopted new rules prohibiting hate speech, harassment and extremism, it faced an important question: Should we enforce the new rules on a user-by-user or post-by-post basis, as they become more widespread? report new violations, or should we proactively shut down the entire system? Subreddits where these rules have been consistently broken?

Reddit, admittedly, went with the less popular option. He attacked thousands of hateful and offensive subreddits, attributing blame not to individual posts or users but to the spaces where toxic things frequently happen, theorizing that online spaces, like offline ones, often develop customs. and norms that are difficult to dislodge.

As tough as it was, the approach worked. Years later, when researchers studied these changes, they discovered that Reddit's subreddit bans had led to a measurable reduction on the overall toxicity of the site. Users who had frequented the banned communities either left Reddit entirely or changed their behavior. Toxic spaces were not reconstituted and rule-abiding Redditors reaped the benefits of a cleaner, less hateful platform.


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