Reddit has shut down five of its forums because of individuals being harassed. The social news website announced earlier this year that it would be taking steps to prevent users from abusing forums. The website also warned that more chat forums would be shut down if Reddit users continued to harass others.
The website said in a statement that it would be making changes in order to protect privacy and prevent harassment.
“Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to have authentic conversations and share ideas and content on an open platform. We want as little involvement as possible in managing these interactions but will be involved when needed to protect privacy and free expression, and to prevent harassment,” the statement said.
“Today we are removing five subreddits that break our reddit rules based on their harassment of individuals. If a subreddit has been banned for harassment, you will see that in the ban notice.”
The banned subreddits contained racial abuse, as well as abuse directed at overweight and transgender people as well as gamers. The website noted that forum moderators had done very little to prevent individuals from being harassed.
It also addressed the issue of safety, stating that the forums were being used to “recruit” people to harass others, resulting in people worrying about their safety after receiving threats.
It added that only abusive behaviour would be banned and asked its users to report any abusive subreddits.
The website’s statement has now had over 30,000 comments since it was posted just a few days ago. Many Reddit users have criticised the website’s decision to close the forums, with some saying that it is a “bad business decision” and a significant policy shift for the website. Some have posted abusive messages and images in response to the statement.
Others said that the decision to shut down the forums will not necessarily stop the abuse and could cause it to be carried over to other forums. Users also warned that shutting down discussions could lead to the site shutting down completely.