Hundreds of Reddit moderators demand the platform change its policies to explicitly ban racism
racismand hate speech.
- The platform has a long history of providing a home to hateful rhetoric and hate-based communities after being founded 15 years ago as a place for free expression.
- Reddit has faced increased criticism recently after CEO
Steve Huffmanwrote a letter to employees last week in support of police brutality protesters, which moderatorscalled an act of "blatant hypocrisy."
Hundreds of moderators at Reddit have called on the platform to finally enact a policy explicitly banning racism and hate speech aimed at "disadvantaged" groups.
In an open letter shared Monday, a group of more than 300 moderators called on Reddit CEO Steve Huffman and its board of directors to take action in addressing racist speech and hate-filled
Reddit has long faced criticism for housing hate speech and harmful misinformation, and failing to censor notorious subreddits where hateful rhetoric has flourished. Reddit was founded 15 years ago with a commitment to free expression, and its content policy does not explicitly ban racism and hate speech on the platform.
Monday's letter calls on Reddit to enact a "statewide policy against racism, slurs, and hatespeech targeted at protected groups." It also demands Reddit leadership be "proactive" in banning communities where hate-based speech takes place and users who take part in such rhetoric.
The moderators echoed earlier criticisms of "blatant hypocrisy" exhibited by Reddit, and slammed the platform for refusing to change any policies or make fighting racism a priority.
"These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough," moderators wrote in the letter. "Steve, if you and Reddit genuinely care about the values of standing up to racism and hate, then you need to back it up with real action."
Huffman last week penned a letter to employees in support of
Additionally, cofounder Alexis Ohanian on Friday resigned from Reddit's board. He described it as "a long overdue" move to "do the right thing" by severing his ties with a platform that's been home to hate and racism. Ohanian called on Reddit to fill his seat on the board with a Black candidate.
While Reddit has said it will honor Ohanian's request for a Black board member, moderators demanded Reddit fill his seat in the next three months, in order to prevent it from being "put off for action years down the road."
Following initial criticism of his letter, Huffman admitted over the weekend that Reddit leadership "still have work to do," and said the platform planned to update its content policy "to include a vision for Reddit and its communities to aspire to."
However, moderators argued Monday that the statement didn't go far enough.
"We hope that Reddit will not just share empty platitudes — but will take a meaningful stand against hate, and take these recommendations to heart."
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