Reddit has announced a new initiative aimed to combat cyber-bullying, and making the popular online discussion forum safer for all of its users.
Interim CEO Ellen Pao introduced the new anti-harassment policy in a blog post on Thursday, addressing the escalation of malicious behavior seen among Reddit members.
“We’ve seen many conversations devolve into attacks against individuals,” said Pao and her team.
“We are also seeing more harassment and different types of harassment as people’s use of the Internet and the information available on the Internet evolve over time,” they added.
The website stated it recently conducted a survey of more than 15,000 users that demonstrated how these actions impacted community members.
“[The survey] showed negative responses to comments have made people uncomfortable contributing or even recommending reddit to others,” read the blog post.
“The number one reason redditors do not recommend the site—even though they use it themselves—is because they want to avoid exposing friends to hate and offensive content.”
With the anti-harassment policy in place, users who view or experience harassment on the site are encouraged to report the private message, post or comment by emailing Reddit moderators, who will have the ability to remove the content and block users from the forum.
Under Reddit’s modified policies, the company stated it defines harassment as “continued actions” that would make a user “conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation,” or “fear for their personal safety” and that of those around them.
The company highlighted it has always encouraged freedom of expression by having a “mostly hands-off approach” to content shared on its site, and while it expects the changes to have no immediately noticeable impact on most users, the initiative is “specifically designed to prevent attacks against people – not ideas.”
“It is our challenge to balance free expression of ideas with privacy and safety as we seek to maintain and improve the quality and range of discourse on reddit.”