PORTLAND, Ore., July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A Change.org petition has been created to demand transparency and the protection of free speech on the popular social-media website Reddit.com.
Reddit has made efforts to clean up its online communities by banning subreddits that were considered hateful in nature. In June, about 2000 subreddits were taken down, from popular ones like the Trump-supporting /r/The_Donald, to the pro-LGBT community /r/RightwingLGBT.
But a closer look at what they decided to ban shows significant inconsistencies and subjectivity in how the company enforced the rules. And with many communities banned without explanation, rule-abiding users are left in the dark. Will they be allowed to speak freely? Or will they be the next to be banned?
Prior to a recent edit due to community uproar, one example of Reddit's lack of clarity was its rule on protecting minority groups. One user highlighted this rule back in the post titled "Update to our Content Policy." It stated, "the rule does not protect groups of people who are in the majority or who promote such attacks of hate." The user then asked "So can we be racist towards black people in a black-majority country, and racist to white people in a white-majority country?" This inconsistency is a simple example of how Reddit's rules and values were not thought through, and were problematic at best.
If a subreddit faces a ban, Reddit offers an appeals process to find out more information. But in reality, these requests don't reach the right people, and efforts to elevate and raise these issues are often ignored.
With Reddit enforcing its rules in such an opaque way, the site has drifted away from values of free speech to a tyrannical rule of law. This sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the site: no longer is it a place where one can speak freely. Rather, the site is governed by its vague rules and by the ideologies and political leanings of those in charge.
To protect the future of Reddit.com, the Change.org petition calls for the site and its users to do better. To create an online community that is inclusive and welcoming, Reddit must require transparency in all decisions regarding banning, suspension, and content removal, and open communication without repercussion between users and moderators.
Read through and sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/reddit-demand-transparency-and-protection-of-free-speech-from-reddit
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