I hate internet culture


Credit: Reddit

I hate internet culture

Recently, the website Reddit started pursuing a policy of anti-harassment and promoting a safer space for its user base. This policy entailed banning several subreddits, including one dedicated to racism, and another for harassing overweight individuals. What ensued can essentially be described as a massive temper tantrum: users from these hate-filled subreddits started leaking into the defaults–where the more casual users usually post and comment.

Personally, I find it infuriating that the admins haven’t filtered Reddit already, and that they only seem to act whenever the website is about to receive negative attention. The degree of neglect and lack of content moderation by the admins towards the community was so severe that the white supremacist forum Stormfront, at one point, named Reddit a “fertile ground for recruitment.”

I feel that this fiasco encapsulates the essence of what irks me about internet culture. Under the misguided belief that all opinions are created equal, several communities lashed out against what amounts to a basic moderating policy that was much overdue in the first place.

Claims of censorship were made, despite the fact that it was a decision made by a private business to ‘clean up’ their own community. However, that principle basically gets thrown out the window when dealing with a privately hosted website. In the same way that any other business has a right to throw out customers that harass other customers, the lack of a literal physical front does not make Reddit exception. Not only was the decision to ban certain subreddits perfectly within their rights, it was also the right thing to do. It’s only logical that a website that claims to be an open community to crack down on hate speech hosted on its own servers. And yet, Reddit still suffers from an endemic spread of various bigoted ideologies seeping into the mainstream.

Really, I view this as a problem of internet culture. With so many people out there using more or less equal opportunity platforms to express their opinions, perhaps it’s inevitable for hate speech to propagate so quickly. The technological efficiency of the internet does not discriminate, no matter what a terrible piece of garbage the content may be. On top of that, add the fact that information received by a user is filtered either knowingly or unknowingly to show what the user wants to see, and

the internet seems more like a cluster of isolated echo chambers rather than a space for the open exchange of information as it has a reputation for.”

— Chris Kim


The way I see it, the companies that run these content aggregators have a responsibility to create environments that discourage hate speech. I would even go as far to say that not doing so would mean helping hate speech propagate, as they would be allowing hate speech to be spread using their privately-owned infrastructure and technology. I know it probably won’t be an easy job to create a safe space online, but running multi-million user websites was never supposed to be easy.