Tag Archives: reddit

Reddit Acquired Dubsmash



Reddit announced that it has acquired short-form video social platform Dubsmash.

Dubsmash’s mission is to elevate under-represented creators. They have built a beautiful and fun product that enables their users to create unique, dynamic, interactive content. While Dubsmash will maintain its own platform and brand, we also look forward to bringing our teams together to combine the unique creator experience of Dubsmash with the community growth engine of Reddit.

Reddit pointed out that they will integrate Dubsmash’s innovative video creation tools into Reddit, which will empower Reddit’s own creators to express themselves in original and authentic ways that are endemic to Reddit’s communities. Reddit stated that Dubsmash’s entire team – including the three co-founders, Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel, and Tim Specht – are welcomed to Reddit, starting immediately.

Dubsmash announced “with great excitement” that they had been acquired by Reddit. Dubsmash reported:

Going forward, Dubsmash will be run as its own entity and brand within Reddit, continuing to focus on developing trusted creator tools, creating a safe and welcoming platform for underrepresented communities, and providing pathways for the next generation of cultural vanguards to grow and expand their livelihoods.

According to Reuters, Dubsmash is a short-video platform. Together, this makes Reddit the latest company to expand in a space dominated by TikTok. A spokesperson for Reddit told Reuters that the acquisition was based on a combination of cash and stock.

Reuters also reported that the success of ByteDance’s TikTok has prompted many social media companies to add short-video services to their platforms. Snapchat Inc. rolled out “Spotlight” in November, and Facebook Inc. launched “Instagram Reels” earlier this year.


Reddit Research Nearly Proves Godwin’s Law



reddit-logo-01-674x501It’s a cliche that’s almost as old as the internet itself, and it’s summed up succinctly by Godwin’s Law:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches – that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism. The first utterance of such comparison is called the Godwin point of the discussion.

A blogger operating under the name GuriousGnu wasn’t necessarily attempting to prove Godwin’s Law. But CuriousGnu almost did, after analyzing publicly available data from Reddit. First, CuriousGnu made a list that shows the top subreddits that mention either Hitler or Naziism. This list might come as somewhat reassuring to anyone who’s spent more than a little time in online communities, as the top five subreddits for Hitler mentions are:

  • /history
  • /AskHistorians
  • /european
  • /italy
  • /de (Germany)

So it seems likely most of these Nazi-tinged threads might’ve at least been relevant to discussions on history.

CuriousGnu also made a graph that really starts to put Godwin’s Law into perspective:

Then I excluded history subreddits and looked at the probability that a Reddit thread mentions Nazis or Hitler at least once. Unsuprisigly, the probability of a Nazi refrence increases as the threads get bigger. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect that the probability would be over 70% for a thread with more than 1,000 comments.

CuriousGun goes on to state that the next logical step in the experiment would be to do advanced analyses using sophisticated text-mining techniques that would be difficult and time-consuming to complete. Still, this bit of analysis gives us some interesting (if not humorous) insight into what really happens when people congregate and communicate online.


Reddit Expanded its “Block User” Feature



reddit-logo-01-674x501It appears that Reddit is working on making itself a nicer place to visit. The company has expanded its “block user” feature. This change was made at around the same time Reddit launched its new mobile app.

The Reddit announcement about the improved “block user” feature starts by pointing out that Reddit is a place “where virtually anyone can voice, ask about, or change their views on a wide range of topics, share personal, intimate feelings, or post cat pictures.” It goes on to acknowledge that this openness can lead to “less awesome stuff like spam, trolling, and worse, harassment.”

It turns out Reddit already had a “block user” feature. It was limited to apply only to private messages. The updated “block user” feature can be used to block users that reply to you in comment replies (in addition to private messages). All you need to do is click the “block user” button while viewing the reply from your inbox.

From that point on, the profile of the blocked user, along with all their comments, posts, and messages, will then be completely removed from your view. You will no longer be alerted if they message you further. As before, the block is completely silent to the blocked user.

In short, Reddit is making an effort to give users the ability to decide for themselves what kind of experience they want from Reddit. Or, as the Reddit post says: Our changes to user blocking are intended to let you decide what your boundaries are, and to give you the option to choose what you want – or don’t want – to be exposed to. The announcement encourages people to report harassment to Reddit’s community team.

Blocking a user means you won’t see anything else that user posts, but the blocked user will still be able to see everything you post publicly on Reddit. The expanded “block user” feature cannot be used to block entire subreddits and have them removed from your sight. It appears that that Reddit is planning on making more improvements. The announcement ends with: These are just our first steps toward improving the experience of Reddit, and we’re looking forward to announcing many more.


Reddit has Launched an Official Mobile App



Reddit new mobile appReddit has launched the first mobile app that was built by the company. The Reddit mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android and is now available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Reddit VP of Consumer Product, Alex Le, posted information about the official Reddit app on Reddit. It explains that the company planned to deliver their first official Android Reddit app and to improve and stabilize Alien Blue (a very popular, but unofficial, third-party Reddit app).

Updating Alien Blue was more difficult a task than expected. In the post, Alex Le wrote:

Revamping Alien Blue is also a pretty obvious thing to do, but what started out as a simple improvement project turned into a much larger effort. We’ve decided to rebuild our iPhone app from the ground up to be faster, more modern, and more usable.

The official Reddit app features inline images, night theme, compact and card views, and simpler navigation. Users can customize their Reddit experience on the mobile app with themes. Just like the Reddit website, the app allows “top content” to rise based on the upvotes of users.

The website for the official Reddit app shows images of phones with photos of a cat and dog being cute together, sushi, a Go game, and a very red watermelon. To me, it feels like the app is being presented in a way that makes Reddit look like it is similar to Instagram or Pinterest – very photo heavy. Cats are mentioned more than once in the app’s description.

Personally, I don’t use Reddit very often. I go there to check out what’s new on /r/Diablo because that’s my favorite video game and people post interesting stuff about the game there. I never post anything myself, I simply read whatever is in there. As such, I’ve never had any problems with Reddit.

That being said, I think everyone is aware that Reddit has developed a bad reputation in the past due to some of the content and discussions that can be described as “unwelcoming” (to put it mildly). The presentation of the official Reddit app makes Reddit look friendly and inviting. Perhaps Reddit is hoping its new mobile app will attract users who have been previously avoiding Reddit.


Reddit to Launch News Site



Reddit logoFor years, social sharing message board Reddit has carried the tagline “The Front Page of the Internet.” Thanks in part to Reddit’s “upvoting” system, which allows users to push items they like to its front page, Reddit has become a reliable source for bringing interesting things to a wider audience.

With this history in mind, Reddit will launch a dedicated news site. Cleverly called Upvoted, the new site will consist of a mixture of different topics, handpicked by a dedicated editorial team. Upvoted itself will actually work quite different from Reddit. Upvoted won’t have a user voting system of its own, nor will it allow for public comments.

The launch of Upvoted is being seen by many as an opportunity to make Reddit more “friendly.” Not just to users but also to advertisers. Reddit has had somewhat of a checkered past, having been embroiled in a number of controversies. Many of its users view Reddit as an “anything goes” zone, where they can post whatever they want. But this mentality can be problematic, as it may offend other users or drive potential sponsors away who don’t want to be associated with Reddit’s Internet drama.

Upvoted launches Tuesday, October 6th. The site is currently showing only a login screen on a protected WordPress page.


Reddit AMA Reveals Potential Content Policy Changes



Reddit logoSteve Huffman, Reddit’s Co-Founder and returning CEO, held an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on the website today. He discussed potential policy changes regarding what will, and will not, be allowed on Reddit. It appears that some things may change based upon the comments posted by people who attended the AMA.

Steve Huffman, who uses the name “spez” on Reddit, started the AMA with some explanation. Part of it said: “As Reddit has grown, we’ve seen additional examples of how unfettered free speech can make Reddit a less enjoyable place to visit, and can even cause people harm outside of Reddit.”

As a result, Reddit is “considering a set of additional restrictions on what people can say on Reddit – or at least say on our public pages – in the spirit of our mission”.

Content prohibited on Reddit

I’d like to point out the part that says “Anything that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people (these behaviors intimidate others into silence)” in order to note that a clarification has been made.  A later part of the AMA says: Wording we’ve used elsewhere is this: “Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2)  fear for their safety and the safety of those around them”.

I find it very interesting that Reddit might require people to opt in to seeing NSFW communities.  Other types of content “will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit”.  To me, it sounds like a person who was new to Reddit would be able to easily avoid the NSFW content – and avoid the stuff that “violates a common sense of decency”. People who want to see that type of content can, if they log in to the website and intentionally opt in.

That alone could help make Reddit be a more enjoyable place to visit.  Combine that with the potential change that would, essentially, hide most of the unsavory content from view – and from “search results and public listings”, and that the worst content “will generate no revenue for Reddit”.

It seems to me that hiding the worst portions of Reddit could make the website seem more enticing to people who have always considered Reddit to be a pit of the worst humanity has to offer.  Maybe more people would visit Reddit after those changes have been made?  It also sounds like these changes are being considered in the hopes to entice advertisers to want to post some ads on Reddit.  A brand might be able to do that without associating itself with some of the more horrible things that people post on there.


Reddit Announces New Anti-Harassment Policy



In the wake of concerns regarding abuse and harassment on social networking site Reddit, the company has adopted a new anti-harassment policy with stricter rules and consequences for abusive activity.

reddit-logo-01-674x501A survey of 15,000 Reddit users in April found that negative and offensive content is the number one reason why users avoid the site and encourage their friends to do the same. In a recent statement, interim CEO Ellen Pao said, “The community wants these improvements… We believe less harassment means more participation, leading to more free expression, better conversations, and better communities.”

Since its creation in 2005, Reddit has been a haven for free expression on the web. Although the site’s openness has provided artists, satirists, and enthusiasts of nearly any topic under the sun, this anything-goes nature has also made the site a hotspot for trolling and cyber abuse. Subreddits promoting revenge porn (the practice of getting “revenge” by posting of sexually explicit images of someone without their consent), child pornography, and other illegal activities have popped up, casting a dark shadow over Reddit’s reputation.

Reddit banned child pornography in 2012; they again updated their policy in February to ban “involuntary pornography” such as revenge porn. With these new changes, Reddit has broadened their policy by defining “harassment” as:

Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.

Under the new policy, users can report abusive content by emailing Reddit moderators, who can remove inappropriate content and ban offending users.

Reddit continues to recognize the importance of free speech, stating that the updated policy “will have no immediately noticeable impact on more than 99.99 percent of our users.” The company hopes to make Reddit a safe, inspiring place to share and interact without the underlying threat of abuse and harassment.