Reddit cops a lot of flak but it’s definitely done something right this week: the site just banned one of the worst subreddits for COVID-19 misinformation.
It’s quite the turnaround after its CEO Steven Huffman said just last week that COVID-19 misinformation wasn’t actually much of a problem on the site. Now though, as well as banning and quarantining those subreddits, the site is also building new tools to help moderators tackle any spread of misinformation in the future. The new moderation feature will allow mods to better signal when they notice one community raid another.
Another subreddit, r/redditsecurity, which is a “running log of actions taken to ensure the safety and security of reddit.com,” announced the new changes, and also heavily implied that the banning was necessitated after an increased prevalence of COVID-19 denialism was noted over recent weeks.
Get the latest Tech news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
According to them, COVID-related posts on the site stemming from COVID denialism subreddits had increased from 1% to 3% of the overall number of COVID-related posts on Reddit (which perhaps doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s still too much when the stakes are this high).
Representatives for Reddit’s moderators shared their happiness at the positive development on the site. “We’re extremely happy that the Reddit admin team chose to listen to their users,” they told VICE. “The actions Reddit took today were a good compromise, and we are very encouraged that they are taking COVID misinformation seriously.
Misinformation has a real human cost—for our friends, our families, our loved ones, and our communities—and we salute Reddit for committing to removing it from their platform. Reddit, like any social network, works best when staff and creators are in a constant dialogue and working towards the common good. We hope today’s actions are the first step towards that consistent dialogue.”
For more on this topic, follow the Tech Observer.