Dozens of subreddits and their users and moderators are calling on Reddit to take more action against fake news and misinformation surrounding the coronavirus and vaccinations. A post on the vaccination subforum lists a growing list of subreddits supporting the initiative.
The post is on the subreddit /r/vaxxhappened, a forum where users criticize people who oppose corona vaccinations and measures. “We could have been better off months ago, but misinformation and lies were easily spread and cost lives,” the original poster wrote.
According to the writer, “more active involvement is needed” to counter the spread of fake information. The poster calls on Reddit to take more action. Concrete actions are not required; it is a general call to do more against fake news on the platform.
Reddit said a year ago it was increasing its resources against misinformation on the network, but according to the poster, that has proved insufficient. Reddit referred moderators of the subreddits to official health agency resources and said it would facilitate more AMAs. However, Reddit itself did little with the platform’s content, such as removing subreddits or posts.
Reddit has been criticized for years for taking too little action against controversial posts and subreddits. For example, a notorious pro-Trump forum was only closed after years, despite many complaints from users. Research shows that deplatforming communities often works.
The call on Reddit is backed by dozens of other subreddits. Moderators and users have publicly expressed their support. These include some of the platform’s most popular subreddits, such as /r/lifeprotips and /r/pics, which have over ten million subscribers. Dozens of small subreddits also support the initiative.
Reddit has since responded, but says it won’t do anything with the criticism. “Going against the CDC’s opinion is not against our rules,” the platform says. Reddit maintains that an open discussion is a better way to combat misinformation.