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Reddit: free speech or time to tighten their policies?

Reddit has long been known for its open-sourced free speech platform, but is it time for them to revise their policies to crackdown on racism?


The world is changing before our eyes

If you are looking at your Facebook page lately it might look like “The confederate army got into a war with the headquarters of skittles.” Yes, since Facebook created a “rainbow filter” to celebrate the supreme court legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states , along with the recent hate crime shooting in South Carolina, this seems to be the case.

The battle for equal rights, freedom of speech and racial equality is at the highest activity it has been (in this authors opinion) since the civil rights movement. I think we should call this movement civil rights 2.0, because it is a movement that has largely proliferated through online communities.

Never before in our history can an ordinary person have such a widespread platform to voice their opinion, and Reddit is a hotbed of activity for these topics. Reddit which is an open sourced platform for free speech allowing users to vote on what content they think is important and what is not, is a marvelous idea in theory, but also can be abused with hate and vitriol, just like those who abuse free speech.

What is really going on?

Which is exactly what is going on now; Reddit has the slogan “We Power Awesome Communities”, but what about the hate communities? Yes, there is always a bad apple in the cart but what if that apple is trending on Reddit!

According to David Banks, a social scientist who is a leading authority on the online hate movement, told BuzzFeed that “Structural violence exists on Reddit because it exists in society, and so it will keep showing up. So relying on reporting and flagging and tagging to get rid of this will never fix the issue for good.”

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However, allowing these communities a home is a choice

Reddit can be regulated, and there is no reason that a hate group with a name like “Coontown” should have a harmless little icon like the reddit man supporting such a group. “Coontown” is a racist reddit group formed in 2014, and now it’s at 10,000 followers and trending on Reddit, which is even more dangerous because of how much exposure it is getting.

I am not saying that Reddit is encouraging such behavior, but inadvertently by their policy of nonintervention, they have. It is also sickening that we as a society can’t have a beautiful open sourced platform for the community without it being abused, and being used as an “incubator of hate.” I understand free speech and the second amendment, and am for the freedom of speech, but when that speech is oppressive, destructive and has the potential to cause harm to innocent people, then that is where I draw the line.


Written By

John Linneman is a Portland, Oregon native who owns and operates small digital marketing business. He went to school at Portland State where he studied business, and writing. He majored in writing and theater at PSU, and still holds these things true, but has since moved on and transferred his talents to the business, and marketing world. Connect with him on Twitter or on his blog.

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  1. Pingback: What growing outrage on Reddit over the TPP has to do with your business - AGBeat

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