In 'Unprecedented' Move, Reddit Bans 5 Subreddits

The most popular of the 5 forums targeted the obese
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2015 1:00 PM CDT
In 'Unprecedented' Move, Reddit Bans 5 Subreddits
Ellen Pao, center, leaves the Civic Center Courthouse along with her attorney, Therese Lawless, left, during a lunch break in her trial Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in San Francisco. A jury heard opening arguments Tuesday in a multi-million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the current interim chief...   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Reddit, the so-called front page of the Internet, is starting to ban some of its own forums after years of being known as the content aggregator where anything goes (well, except for child porn and nude celebrity pics). But Reddit is reporting this week that it has removed five of its forums, known as subreddits, to "protect privacy and free expression" and "prevent harassment." Chief Executive Ellen Pao (who recently lost a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination at her former Silicon Valley venture capital firm, reports the New York Times) and fellow Reddit execs write that they are "banning behavior, not ideas."

The five subreddits all target types of people, including those who are fat, black, or transgendered. The one with the most members, r/FatPeopleHate, described itself as having "absolutely NO FAT SYMPATHY." The "unprecedented" move, reports the Washington Post, comes just months after then-CEO Yishan Wong wrote that questionable subreddits will not be banned: "You choose what to post. You choose what to read. You choose what kind of subreddit to create." The crackdown is drawing mixed reviews, with one person writing, "Censorship, man. I thought there'd be more time before it really hit reddit," reports the Los Angeles Times. Reddit, meanwhile, insists that "we do protect the right of people to express their views and encourage actual conversations according to the rules of reddit." The Post profiles the five subreddits here. (More Reddit stories.)

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