Reddit, the popular content sharing platform just revealed that a bunch of well-known political sites would be blocked from posting future articles to Reddit’s Political category or Subreddit. To the sites being blocked, this is a big deal considering the main objective of an information website, is to get that information out to the masses. The political category or subreddit alone has over 3 million subscribers, so a site being blocked from posting in that category could, and arguably would see their readership fall tremendously.
Huffington Post is one of the many sites blocked from posting future articles in the Politics Subreddit. Other sites like Fox News and other political sites are also added to the dreaded Reddit Banned List. You will think that these sites, given their already large online distribution, would take this Reddit ban with a grain of salt and not even register it on their rader. But not the Huffington Post.
Imagine my surprise today, when I came across this post on HuffPo written after being banned by Reddit. HuffPo praised Reddit for the great work they’re doing and for their creating their leading online platform – a platform that just blocked HuffPo’s submissions.
Can you say kiss-up?
Social news aggregators like reddit, founded in 2005, allow for the very best of journalism anywhere in the world to be exposed to a wide swath of the population. Reddit allows users the flexibility to subscribe to channels (called subreddits) that fit their interests, whether they are extremely technical, hard-science or trivial but fun. On reddit, you can find all the cat GIFs you could ever want, as well as read a solid and sourced conversation between trained academics on any given subject.
Because a network of millions of users determines the content of each subreddit and even the front page, newsworthy reports receive the attention they deserve. Journalists who go above and beyond are often recognized for their hard work and ingenuity, and because users can and do comment in longer form, the debate on important subjects is properly nuanced to match the complexity of the issue. Frequently, even unpopular opinions will be “upvoted” to get exposure, provided they are well argued and properly sourced. Unlike on television, where quick witticisms and soundbites are all producers have time for, reddit allows for a determined reader to gather a more complete set of facts before forming an opinion. As long as a viewer takes what they see with an appropriately-sized grain of salt, a comments thread on reddit will typically better inform the reader what the holes and deficits of a news article are, or what about an opinion piece is truly innovative and conversation-worthy.
Beyond determining what’s newsworthy, reddit allows for users to organize and act together better than ever before. When the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act threatened (and threatened again) the freedom of information on the Internet, redditorsgathered to fight the proposed law — and won. Redditors are engaged in activism on many fronts, and as the userbase grows, their power will, too. One can expect the campaigns of the 2016 Presidential Election to appeal to reddit frequently and often.