Reddit, the self proclaimed “front page of the Internet,” is adding new policies to its platform to stem harassment.
Starting today, when a redditor feels demeaned or fears for their own safety as a result of something said on the platform, they can now report the private message, post, comment, and user to Reddit via email.
It’s a big change for a 9,000 forum-strong community that is largely self-regulated. In the past that meant that Reddit has served as a place for people to share content from all over the web (sometimes illegally) and speak freely. That freedom has at times led to bullying and harassment of other users.
“Instead of promoting free expression of ideas, we are seeing our open policies stifling free expression; people avoid participating for fear of their personal and family safety,” the company wrote in a blog post. In a survey conducted last month, Reddit found that people were actually posting less on the platform as a result of negative commentary.
Reddit is not the only company that’s re-evaluating its strategy around bullying. Twitter suffers from a similar problem, as CEO Dick Costolo noted in an internal memo earlier this year.
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo had written. “We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”