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Reddit Promises to Crack Down on Online Harassment

Nov 30, 2016

Social media website Reddit, known for its commitment to free speech on its platform, will crack down on online harassment by banning or suspending users who target others, its CEO Steve Huffman said in an interview.

Huffman told Reuters that it will monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and take a more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.

Reddit said it had identified hundreds of the "most toxic users" and will warn, ban or suspend them. It also plans to continue to staff up its "Trust and Safety" team.

Reddit's moves are the latest step by social media companies to adjust their policies in the wake of a polarizing U.S. election earlier this month in which their websites played a key role.

Facebook (fb) said it is reviewing its approach to so-called "fake news" and banning some sites from its advertising network. Twitter (twtr) is also rolling out new tools to combat abuse.

On Reddit, a channel supporting the Republican party's U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, called r/The_Donald, featured racist and misogynistic comments, fake news, and conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, along with more mainstream expressions of support for Trump.

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Many of those supporting Trump were very active and engaged on the platform, voting up the r/The_Donald conversations so that they became prominent across Reddit, which according to Alexa is the 7th-most-visited site on the internet in the United States.

In a draft of a blog post to be published Wednesday, Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users "to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because "if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard."

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