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For the community in Ontario, see Redditt.
Reddit Inc.
Reddit logo
Type Private
Founded June 23, 2005; 12 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 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, with the most popular content presented in a constantly updated list on the main page, and on the front pages of many smaller "subreddits". Each post also 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] This is not legally considered a form of censorship, as Reddit is a private corporation, and its policies are clearly 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 political bias in its user base[9] and in how it displays its content, but its tens of thousands of active communities[10] do include several right wing subreddits. The most prominent of these is known as r/The_Donald, which generates many posts that do not appear on the front page. As of 2017, the front page does typically contain many posts from several new anti-Trump subreddits such as r/esist and r/marchagainsttrump.



Further information: Reddit culture

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.[11] 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".[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 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.[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

Main article: Timeline of Reddit

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 automatically curated based on the site's editorial standards.[27] 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.[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]


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[41] in 2015.[42][43][44] 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.[45] 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".[46] 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.[47]


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 1% of Reddit's user base.

See also


  1. "Reddit on June23-05". Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  2. "Inside Reddit's Plan to Recover From Its Epic Meltdown". Retrieved January 17, 2017. 
  3. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  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. 
  13. "List of Default Subreddits (USA) - 26 May 2016". Reddit. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  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. 
  18. "blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: What's Snoo?". 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 "Karma whoring reddit and the frontpage's econometrization" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  20. "Occupy and Academia: Investigating a Socio-Political Laboratory" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  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. 
  22. "Interview: Imgur's Path to a Billion Image Views Per Day - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD". AllThingsD. 
  23. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  24. "Reddit in 2015". Reddit. December 30, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2016. 
  25. "Social Media By Gender: Women Dominate Pinterest, Twitter, Men Dominate Reddit, YouTube (INFOGRAPHIC)". June 21, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2017 – via Huff Post. 
  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. 
  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. 
  32. Russell, Jon. "Reddit CEO admits he secretly edited comments from Donald Trump supporters". Techcrunch. Retrieved 24 November 2016. 
  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. 
  34. "Reddit CEO admits modifying Donald Trump supporters' posts". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  35. Cathy Burke (November 24, 2016). "Reddit CEO Admits Changing Comments About Him on Site Made By Trump Backers". Newsmax. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  36. "Did The CEO Of Reddit Pierce Section 230". Associate's Mind. November 24, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  37. Tyler Durden (November 24, 2016). "Reddit Bans "Pizzagate" - "We Don't Want Witchhunts On Our Site"". ZeroHedge. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  39. T.C. Sottek; "Reddit leaders deflect censorship criticism and defend hands-off policies";
  40. (Oct 14, 2012)
  41. "Third Parent" parenting blog |
  45. (Feb 7, 2014)
  46. "Silencio" (2014)
  47. (2015)

External links