Reddit says it’s ramping up its fight against hate speech. Since rolling out its new content policies on June 29th, the platform has banned nearly 7,000 subreddits for hateful content. While the company admits it has more work to do, it says it’s encouraged by an 18 percent drop in users posting hateful content.
In an effort to be more transparent, Reddit shared stats on hateful content posted on the platform. Before the new policies went into effect, 40,000 potentially hateful pieces of content were being shared daily -- though that’s only about 0.2 percent of all content. Reddit says there were roughly 6.47 million views of hateful content daily. Nearly half of all hateful content was related to race or nationality. Sixteen percent was related to class or political affiliation, 12 percent targeted sexuality and 10 percent had to do with gender.
The 7,000 subreddits deleted since late June had approximately 365,000 daily users, but the majority of those banned subreddits (76 percent) had less than 10 subscribers. Only eight percent had more than 100 users.
Reddit’s efforts to ban hate speech may not be entirely altruistic. In early June, hundreds of moderators wrote a scathing open letter accusing leaders of allowing the site to “fester with hate in the name of ‘free speech.’” Shortly afterward, Reddit updated its rules on hate speech and banned 2,000 subreddits, including one of the most notorious pro-Trump forums, r/the_donald.
While Reddit now claims it’s committed to cleaning things up, it’s also reminding everyone how difficult that can be.
“Defining hate at scale is fraught with challenges. Sometimes hate can be very overt, other times it can be more subtle,” the company wrote in a report. In other words, “people are weirdly creative about how to be mean to each other.”
Of course, hateful content isn’t the only thing preventing Reddit from being a safe space. It also has the challenge of hackers, like those who recently defaced dozens of Reddit communities with pro-Trump messages.