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The user community of news-aggregation website Reddit is up in arms after site owner Condé Nast stated it would not run ads promoting California’s Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana under certain restrictions.

Instead of using the online ad space to generate revenues, Condé Nast is now facing an army of “Redditors,” as the site’s active participants are known, placing what amounts to free advertising for Proposition 19 on the site’s homepage.

Eight of the top 25 posts on Reddit are now images that promote the proposition. The top overall post? “YES to Prop 19; NO to corporate censorship.

The official statement by Condé Nast is that it “does not want to benefit financially from this particular issue.” As a compromise, Reddit staffers have reversed the ban and are running pro-Proposition 19 ads without charge.

Reddit operates as a news aggregator that allows users to “upvote and downvote” news stories, links and self-written posts, similar to Digg and others. The top-voted links make it to the front page, and users can do the same with comments written for each individual link.

Reddit was launched in 2005 after getting backed by Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator. It was acquired by media supergiant Condé Nast in 2006.

[Photo: pvera]

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