Who should be responsible for ethics in social media? What about social media platforms that are also linked to businesses and are partnered with other well known names and companies? Reddit is a prime example of this type of social media platform. And if you are a social media savvy kind of geek, then you definitely know what Reddit is and what gets posted on Reddit.com and its “subreddits.” We could talk about 4 Chan, but let’s not.
In the recent years, Reddit has taken strides to ensure that the site is clean of “child pornography and sexually suggestive content featuring minors,” (http://www.reddit.com/rules), but there still remain concerns about how often the administrative staff and moderators use a blind eye to avoid having to take any action towards other negative content submitted on the site. Some would argue that this allowance of abused “Freedom of Speech” has often led to communities or “subreddits” that promote/support abuse, sexual harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination. This is in stark contrast to the views of Reddit’s current CEO, Ellen Pao, who recently attempted to battle gender discrimination. Under such laws as the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, which protects Internet speech and protects Reddit Inc. from having any legal responsibilities of what their users say and do, it is easy to see why no actions have been taken to ban such subreddits as “/r/RapingWomen” where users and moderators promote rape culture while claiming that their content is meant to be satirical, indicative of “Internet trolling.” Now, we know that these types of subreddits are typically buried amongst all the chaotic funny, cute, and NSFW images, but they do exist.
Should Reddit be ethically responsible?