|Founded||June 23, 2005
Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Key people||Steve Huffman (co-founder and CEO)|
|Employees||100 (as of 2015)|
|Slogan(s)||"The front page of the internet"|
|Alexa rank||9 (Global, May 2017[update])|
|Type of site||Social news and -media aggregation|
|Advertising||Banner ads, promoted links|
|Registration||Optional (required to submit, comment, or vote)|
|Available in||Multilingual, primarily English|
Reddit is a generally (but not completely) left-wing American website started in 2005 that lets approved members post news, articles, videos, original pictures, and stories. All registered members can then vote on these submissions. The most popular items are divided into categories by Reddit employees, and presented in a constantly updated list on the main page, according to the site's confidential editorial policies. Relevant submissions also appear on the front pages of many smaller "subreddits", generally without interference from site employees. The site members who created these subreddits can censor them though. Each post has an attached section where approved members can post comments.
The main page of the site contains a quota of posts from various categories, with a general bias for upbeat content. Reddit has a liberal/progressive social and political bias in its user base and in how it displays its content. Its tens of thousands of active communities do include several right wing subreddits, though these are sometimes deleted without warning. The most prominent of these is known as r/The_Donald, which generates many posts that never appear on the front page. As of 2017, the front page contained frequent posts from several new anti-Trump subreddits such as r/esist and r/MarchAgainstTrump. Later, r/PoliticalHumor became more prominent, though almost all its humor had a liberal slant. Other posts typically endorse left-wing political goals, or just a progressive worldview.
Reddit is a moderated rating site that uses social network aggregation, and enforces generally liberal/progressive community standards in its largest subreddits. Its front pages feature lists of entries submitted by registered users in a bulletin board system. Users can click whether they like a post or comment (upvote/downvote). Submissions with the most upvotes are more likely to appear on the front page or at the top of a category page, though administrators can and do manipulate these results. Content is organized in "subreddits" (each an internet forum) about news, science, gaming, movies, music, books, fitness, food, image-sharing, and many other popular and sometimes obscure things.
The name "Reddit" is a play-on-words with the phrase "read it". The site's content is divided into numerous categories, and 49 such categories, or "default subreddits", are visible on the front page to new users and those who browse the site without logging in. As of May 2016[update], these include:
|Educational||News, Science, Space, DataIsBeautiful, TodayILearned, WorldNews|
|Entertainment||Creepy, Documentaries, Gaming, ListenToThis, Movies, Music, NoSleep, Sports, Television, Videos|
|Discussion-based||AskReddit, AskScience, Books, ExplainLikeImFive, History, IAmA, TwoXChromosomes|
|Humor/light-hearted||Funny, InternetIsBeautiful, Jokes, NotTheOnion, ShowerThoughts, TIFU, UpliftingNews|
|Image sharing||Art, Aww, EarthPorn, Gifs, MildlyInteresting, OldSchoolCool, PhotoshopBattles, Pics|
|Self-improvement||DIY, Food, GetMotivated, LifeProTips, PersonalFinance, Philosophy, WritingPrompts|
- Note: There are over 11,400 active subreddits with a default set of 50 subreddits as of February 2016[update].
The users are called "redditors", They post comments about submissions and respond back and forth in a conversation-tree of comments that are also upvoted and downvoted. The front page of the site itself shows a combination of the highest-rated posts out of all the subreddits a user is subscribed to. Front-page rank – for both the general front page and for individual subreddits – is determined by the age of the submission, positive ("upvoted") to negative ("downvoted") feedback ratio and the total vote-count. Dozens of submissions cycle through these front pages daily. The site's logo and its mascot is a line drawing of an alien nicknamed "Snoo". Subreddits often use themed variants of Snoo relevant to the subject. Although most of the site functions like a bulletin board or message board, each subreddit has the option of having an associated wiki that can provide supplementary material like instructions, recommended reading, or collaboration for real-life events.
Reddit is said to be built upon crowdsourcing and user generated content sharing, altruism, gamification, social reputation in a participatory culture with participatory governance and/or self-governance, and collective intelligence.
Reddit posts often link to images hosted on an unaffiliated site, Imgur, an online image sharing community and image host started in 2009 that was designed to be a gift to the Reddit community.
Size and trends
Reddit has grown rapidly since its founding, and has occasionally been one of the 10 top sites in the world by number of daily users and pageviews. As of 2017, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors (234 million unique users), ranking #4 most visited web-site in US and #9 in the world. Across 2015, Reddit saw 82.54 billion pageviews, 73.15 million submissions, 725.85 million comments, and 6.89 billion upvotes from its users. Most Reddit users are male. In 2016 the Pew Research Center published research showing that 4% of U.S. adults use reddit, of which 67% are men. Users tend to be significantly younger than average with less than 1% of users being 65 or over.
Content and presentation
The front page is automatically curated based on the site's editorial standards. It typically contains a large percentage of content that is also popular in social media, like cute animal pictures, jokes, cuisine and DIY photos, and captions and reports about funny incidents. There are also deeper discussions on many original and obscure subjects. Much of this content first appears on Reddit, and is later copied on other sites like 9gag.
The front page is said to contain much stuff white people like. Parts of the front page have been compared by critics to progressive propaganda. Minorities and immigrants are often featured in anti-stereotypical and uplifting news, the unwillingness of the USA to provide full taxpayer-funded healthcare is illustrated with heartbreaking reports of medical ordeals, and European politicians are sympathetically portrayed compared to their American counterparts. Such posts are popular among the site's main userbase, however.
On November 23, 2016, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to secretly modifying the contents of many public user comments on Reddit that he disliked. He did so by changing insulting comments made towards him and made it appear as if the insult were directed at the moderators of the "The_Donald" community. He said it was in response to abuse directed at him "after Reddit moved to shut down subreddit community 'Pizzagate'." At least one source has suggested this could lead to Reddit losing its Section 230 protection.
Many subreddits have been deleted based on their content or on alleged violations of the site's terms. However, outright censorship is rare on Reddit, though influential subreddits are accused of abusing their power to deny allegedly dissenting opinions. Reddit recommends these dissidents form their own subreddits, but these will have far fewer readers, making their voices unheard. Users may be "shadowbanned" using the site's sophisticated post display algorithms that have been developed since 2005. This is mostly used against automated spamming and bot accounts, and against marketers of off-site content.
In February 2017, Reddit banned the alt-right subreddit (/r/altright) when its members demanded the legal prosecution of the man who attacked alt-right figure Richard B. Spencer. These comments were alleged to violate the attacker's privacy rights. Forum members accused Reddit administrators of having left-wing political bias.
On July 12, /u/david-me, the head moderator of the GamerGate subreddit (/r/kotakuinaction) shut the forum down, describing it as "a cancerous growth" because its discussions of anti-white male themes in mainstream comics were equivalent to "racism and sexism". A Reddit employee allowed the forum to be restored, drawing fierce left-wing criticism.
In September 2018, after months of online deplatforming efforts by progressive social media sites including Reddit, the site banned right-wing forum /r/SJWHate for what its members stated were purely left-wing political reasons.
Reddit also has a widespread policy of shadowbanning comments by controversial members, which continues in several forms through 2017, though the practice was briefly suspended in 2015. These are more likely to be right-wing and far right members, severely politically incorrect commenters, and subjectively offensive or abrasive persons, but a number of extremist Islamist commenters have also been affected. They can still post, but their comments are not visible to others, though to them their comments appear normally.
The algorithms that decide who gets shadowbanned are not disclosed, though some hints have been provided. Users may only be shadowbanned on some subreddits, while their comments are still allowed to appear normally on others. This is because most Reddit shadowbans occur within single subreddits or a network of subreddits that have adopted the same automated shadowbanning policies, like how controversial a user appears, based on their comment "karma". Reddit administrators or their automated tools may then decide to extend the shadowban on a wider scale .
Shadowbanning is defended as a way to let a banned user "blow off steam" without offending others. If they don't know they have been banned, they also won't create a new account to circumvent the ban. Shadowbanning is criticized by users who say that weeks of their time have been wasted crafting posts that no one can read.
Other websites have attempted to compete with Reddit. The most prominent of these is Voat, which has been described as a right-wing version of Reddit, but it has less than 5% of Reddit's user base.
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