Nov 5, 2013
Nov 5, 2013
Alternative news sites have been up in arms over the fact that some moderators at the popular social media news gathering site Reddit have banned users from posting content from almost all alternative media sources, including The Drudge Report and Infowars.com.
The political moderators issued a list of media sources with “custom flair”, ie ones it approves of, as well as a banned list. Users have reacted with anger that the approved list contains purely mainstream news sources such as The BBC, CNN, AP and The New York Times.
The banned list, meanwhile contains practically every major alternative news source you can think of, including The Drudge Report, breitbart.com, Infowars.com, Prisonplanet.com, The Daily Caller, World Net Daily, Salon, The Blaze, Vice.com and Mother Jones.
Reddit’s politics moderators have not discriminated between political paradigms either, with large left leaning sites such as Huffington Post, Raw Story, dailykos.com, Think Progress, and even Media Matters all appearing on the blacklist, in addition to conservative websites.
Interestingly, while MSNBC appears on the approved list, Fox News appears on the banned list.
The moderators claim that the change in policy is “to reduce the number of blogspam submissions and sensationalist titles” as well as “low quality posts.”
In other words, anything written by grassroots journalists or bloggers is considered of a much lesser quality to these Reddit moderators than content from mainstream media sources. Indeed, they consider such content to be spam.
“The domain provides lots of bad journalism to the sub.” Reddit moderators say of all the banned websites. “Bad journalism most regularly happens when the verification of claims made by a particular article is almost impossible. Bad journalism, especially when not critically evaluated, leads to lots of circlejerking.” the moderators claim.
Reddit functions by registered users (or “redditors”) submitting content in the form of either a link or a text (“self”) post. Other users then vote the submission “up” or “down”, which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site’s sub-pages and front page. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits”.
Volunteer moderators then manage the discussions for each subreddit.
While the Daily Caller, Daily Kos and other sites on the banned list have penned angry response pieces, It appears that although the moderators for the politics subreddit have initiated this ban, it does not extend to the entirety of Reddit and has not been in any way officially approved by Reddit, Inc.
Kevin Morris at The Daily Dot explains that some bloggers and journalists are misunderstanding how Reddit works, and that being “blacklisted” in the politics subreddit does not prevent articles from appearing on the main Reddit pages, which receive the vast majority of the site’s web traffic.
The main website has millions of visitors, with 6% of all adults on the internet, and 15% of all males aged 18-29 regularly using the website. The site has some 3,114,397 regular followers. A story can easily be sent viral by Reddit views, with top ranking articles sometimes receiving tens of thousands of upvotes. The politics subreddit, on the other hand, does not really drive a great deal of traffic, as Morris explains, it is no longer a default subreddit and its posts no longer show up on the default Reddit homepage regardless of any blacklist.
Meanwhile, the supposed “banned” websites have still been appearing regularly on the Reddit homepage: