Reddit, the popular internet bulletin board, is taking action now to prevent bullying, sexism, and doxing. Reddit is trying to create a safe environment for their users to express their views and opinions without fear of harassment or “trolling” from other users. Trolling is the act of deliberately posting offensive or provocative material with the intent of upsetting an individual or group. Reddit intends to crack down on online harassment by enforcing and anti-harassment policy that will prohibit attacks and harassment. Ellen Pao, Reddit's CEO, explains the drive behind their new anti-harassment policy, "We allow a lot of content we don't agree with, we just want to make sure our platform makes everyone comfortable sharing their ideas, not just a few people.”
As of March 2015, Reddit began taking action to prevent posting of private information, also known as doxing, without the individual's consent. Reddit was involved in the 2014 controversial leak of celebrity nude photos when its users shared the content without consent. The website is also trying to crack down on “revenge porn,” which is the sharing of nude photos with the intent of shaming an individual. Based on feedback from their site, Reddit reports that females were two times more concerned with harassment than males. Furthermore, females were concerned particularly with the manner in which the site addressed gender and race harassment.
The internet is a big place and, unfortunately, some individuals use the internet as a platform for their malicious agenda to bully and harass others without being identified. Those who "troll" the internet will have to start looking for another site to use when Reddit begins monitoring their user's content and addressing harassment reports. Reddit's appeal to users has been their lack of restriction when it comes to freedom of speech. The site will still uphold the user's freedom to express themselves, just not at the expense of others. There is a fine line between speaking one's mind and deliberately posting content to offend or shame individuals out of hate. With online bullying becoming more and more of an issue, Reddit intends to protect its users and create a safe place to share without retribution.
In January 2015, Reddit surveyed their users and requested feedback regarding their website. Astonishingly, nearly 17,000 users weighed in and expressed their concern with the increase instances of harassment on the site despite reporting a 90% overall satisfaction rate. CEO Ellen Pao believes that the anti-harassment policy will result in free expression because users won't be afraid to share their opinions. Reddit wants to be a platform for free speech and sharing not a tool for internet bullying and hate. The website's success is a result of the collaborated user opinions, expression, and content and an anti-harassment policy will promote growth in a positive direction. More websites should take a note from Reddit and protect their users. If a site as large as Reddit can enforce anti-harassment, others should follow this measure really soon.