Reddit promised that changes were coming, and now those changes are here. In a post today, the site’s back-again CEO Steve Huffman detailed some additional content restrictions the company is considering, and though they aren’t too restrictive they will spell the end to a variety of subreddits — some obscure, others well-known. Talking about illegal activities, for example, is still okay but posting illegal things is not. Bullying subreddits, too, are on the chopping block.
Huffman said this afternoon, in part, that:
As Reddit has grown, we’ve seen additional examples of how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit … Therefore, today we’re announcing that we’re considering a set of additional restrictions on what people can say on Reddit—or at least say on our public pages—in the spirit of our mission.
Some of the restrictions are obvious, such as “actually illegal” content like copyrighted materials rather than discussions of illegal things, as well as spam and the posting of an individual’s private/confidential info.
In addition, Reddit is prohibiting “Anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people … that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people … [and] sexually suggestive content featuring minors.”
There’s also a reclassification system that will be coming into play, it seems, that will keep other permissible but unsavory subreddits separated, and will require things like opting in and, subsequently, being logged in. These subreddits will also not appear in the public listings or search results, and “will generate no revenue” for the company.
The reaction from users is mixed. Some feel the restrictions are a step in the right direction, and others are calling foul, arguing in favor of unmitigated free speech…while a third group is expressing frustration at inconsistencies in the enforcement of the policy.