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Reddit Inc.
Reddit logo
Type Private
Founded June 23, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-06-23),[1]
Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Steve Huffman
Alexis Ohanian
Key people Steve Huffman (co-founder and CEO)
Industry Internet
Employees 100 (as of 2015)[2]
Slogan(s) "The front page of the internet"
Written in Python
Alexa rank Increase 9 (Global, May 2017)[3]
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
Current status Active

Reddit is a generally (but not yet completely) left-wing[4] 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.

However, comments from controversial or unpopular members are often deleted immediately, or automatically shadowbanned. This has caused controversy, as these banned members are said to be more likely to be right-wing commenters.[5][6] It is agreed these commenters appear more abrasive and impolite.[7] Shadowbanning may occur if a Redditor uses an "inappropriate" word, which critics argue may be politically biased. For example, using the word cuckservative or even just "cuck" will trigger an automatic shadowban on many parts of Reddit, but the word "fuck" is allowed. This is not legally considered a form of censorship, as Reddit is a private corporation, and its legal rights and some of its policies are listed in its terms of use. Also, such bans may not be sitewide, allowing these users' comments to be seen in some smaller subreddits. Many Reddit users may not know their comments can't be read by others, though.[8]

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 left-wing political bias in its user base[9] and in how it displays its content. Its tens of thousands of active communities[10] 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 practices race censorship on most of its subreddits. Comments reflecting negatively on non-Asian minorities, feminists, and Muslims are removed by the moderators, or quickly hidden by member downvotes. Negative comments about the policies of Israel usually are allowed.

Reddit uses IP tracing to identify the approximate physical location of site visitors, and then presents them with more locally relevant story links and targeted ads. After the site's 2018 redesign, there were increasing complaints that Reddit was slow to load on mobile devices like tablets or smartphones, or not loading at all due to bloated software requiring intensive Javascript CPU cycles.



Content is organized in "subreddits" (each an internet forum) about political and social goals, news debates, science, gaming, movies, music, books, fitness, food, image-sharing, and many other popular and obscure things. Reddit is a moderated rating site that uses social network aggregation, and enforces generally liberal/progressive community standards in almost all its prominent subreddits. Their 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.[11]

The name "Reddit" is a play-on-words with the phrase "read it".[12] 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, these include:[13]

Category Subreddits
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
Technology Futurology, Gadgets
Meta Announcements, Blog
  • Note: There are over 11,400 active subreddits[14][15] with a default set of 50 subreddits as of February 2016.

The users are called "redditors",[16] 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 curated list 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.[17] 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.[18] 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[19] sharing, altruism,[19] gamification,[19] social reputation[19] in a participatory culture with participatory governance[20] 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.[21][22]

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.[23] Across 2015, Reddit saw 82.54 billion pageviews, 73.15 million submissions, 725.85 million comments, and 6.89 billion upvotes from its users.[24] Most Reddit users are male.[25] In 2016 the Pew Research Center published research showing that 4% of U.S. adults use reddit, of which 67% are men.[26] Users tend to be significantly younger than average with less than 1% of users being 65 or over.[26]

Content and presentation

The front page is editorially curated based on Reddit's social and commercial policies.[27] It features many types of content that are 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. On most days, non-Asian minorities and immigrants are featured in anti-stereotypical and uplifting news stories. 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.[28][29][30]

Alleged censorship

On November 23, 2016, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to secretly modifying the contents of many public user comments on Reddit that he disliked.[31][32] 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.[33] He said it was in response to abuse directed at him "after Reddit moved to shut down subreddit community 'Pizzagate'."[34][35] At least one source has suggested this could lead to Reddit losing its Section 230 protection.[36]

Many subreddits have been deleted based on their content or on alleged violations of the site's terms.[37] However, outright censorship is rare on Reddit, though influential subreddits are accused of abusing their power to deny allegedly dissenting opinions.[38] Reddit recommends these dissidents form their own subreddits, but these will have far fewer readers, making their voices unheard.[39] 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.[40]

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 have violated the attacker's privacy rights. Forum members accused Reddit administrators of having left-wing political bias.[41]

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.[42]

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.[43] From its beginnings, Reddit has been known as an SJW converged community.


Reddit also has a widespread policy of shadowbanning comments by controversial members, which continued in several forms through 2018, though the practice was briefly suspended[44] in 2015.[45][46][47] 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. New commenters are automatically shadowbanned from political and otherwise controversial discussions.

The algorithms that decide who gets shadowbanned are not disclosed, though some hints have been provided.[48] 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".[49] 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.[50]


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.

See also


  1. "Reddit on June23-05". Retrieved August 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Inside Reddit's Plan to Recover From Its Epic Meltdown". Retrieved January 17, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved May 10, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Valerie Richardson Washington Times
  5. comment section (Apr 16, 2017)
  6. user tools (June 2017) -
  7. comment section (retrieved Jun 2017)
  8. (Feb 2014)
  10. Craig Smith (May 11, 2017)
  12. "Reddit Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved April 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "List of Default Subreddits (USA) - 26 May 2016". Reddit. Retrieved June 18, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "2016-update" at "" the Future of Reddit: Re-Introducing Multireddits|date=June 7, 2013|accessdate=June 7, 2013
  15. "Active" is defined as "subreddits that had at least 5 posts or comments in the past day", according to /u/chromakode who is an admin
  16. Redditor - definition of Redditor Oxford Dictionaries Online
  17. "Reddit algorithm". seomoz.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: What's Snoo?".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 "Karma whoring reddit and the frontpage's econometrization" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Occupy and Academia: Investigating a Socio-Political Laboratory" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Schaaf, Alan (February 23, 2009). "My Gift to Reddit: I created an image hosting service that doesn't suck. What do you think?". Reddit. Retrieved April 9, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Interview: Imgur's Path to a Billion Image Views Per Day - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD". AllThingsD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 17, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Reddit in 2015". Reddit. December 30, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Social Media By Gender: Women Dominate Pinterest, Twitter, Men Dominate Reddit, YouTube (INFOGRAPHIC)". June 21, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2017 – via Huff Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. 26.0 26.1 Barthel, Michael; Stoking, Galen; Holcomb, Jesse; Mitchell, Amy (February 25, 2016). "Seven-in-Ten Reddit Users Get News on the Site". Pew Research Center. Retrieved May 28, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. (Feb 15, 2017)
  28. (Mar 27, 2014)
  29. (Jul 28, 2014)
  31. Yeung, Ken. "Reddit CEO apologizes for editing comments critical of him following Pizzagate ban". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 November 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Russell, Jon. "Reddit CEO admits he secretly edited comments from Donald Trump supporters". Techcrunch. Retrieved 24 November 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Weingerger, Matt. "The CEO of Reddit confessed to modifying posts from Trump supporters after they wouldn't stop sending him expletives". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 November 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Reddit CEO admits modifying Donald Trump supporters' posts". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Cathy Burke (November 24, 2016). "Reddit CEO Admits Changing Comments About Him on Site Made By Trump Backers". Newsmax. Retrieved November 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "Did The CEO Of Reddit Pierce Section 230". Associate's Mind. November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Tyler Durden (November 24, 2016). "Reddit Bans "Pizzagate" - "We Don't Want Witchhunts On Our Site"". ZeroHedge. Retrieved November 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. T.C. Sottek; "Reddit leaders deflect censorship criticism and defend hands-off policies";
  40. (Oct 14, 2012)
  41. | The Guardian
  42. |
  43. (Sep 14, 2018)
  44. "Third Parent" parenting blog |
  48. (Feb 7, 2014)
  49. "Silencio" (2014)
  50. (2015)

External links