According to the latest news, Reddit has banned anti vaccine and anti mask subreddit r/NoNewNormal and has quarantined as many as 54 other subreddits associated with COVID denial. Last week, the company’s CEO said in a post that Reddit is meant to “open and authentic discussion and debate” for ideas that “question or disagree with popular consensus.” Today, the company clarified its stance on rules regarding health misinformation.
Subreddit NoNewNormal has been cited by Reddit community members as a source of vaccine misinformation and for “brigading” other subreddit’s discussions by butting in on conversations about COVID. Last month, according to Reddit security, NoNewNormal was the source of 80 such brigades and the behavior continued even after the community warning which lead ultimately to a ban. Previously, the community was quarantined. Reddit also quarantined 54 other subreddits. They were warned that medical advice should come from authorized and designated persons only.
Like other social media networks and online marketplaces, Reddit struggled with COVID related misinformation. In today’s announcement, the company stated that it classifies health misinformation as “falsifiable health information that encourages or poses a significant risk of physical harm to the reader.” It further explained that health disinformation means “falsifiable health information that has been manipulated and presented to mislead” and gives the example of posting fake advice attributed to health officials.
Recently, a large number of Reddit subs have gone private which means whatever posts were shared in the group were hidden from the public if he is not a member of the community. The recent action was spurred by the spread of misinformation around ivermectin. Ivermectin is meant for livestock but was recommended as a cure for COVID despite the Food and Drug Administration’s warnings.
It is to be noted that even today before Reddit made its announcements, some users were deliberately trying to take the situation into their own hands. Ivermectin has been spammed with shitposts, transgender right related posts and porn posts. The porn posts got marked as NSFW.