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Reddit intros anti-bullying policies, saying openness stifles free expression

Reddit has announced new plans to clamp down on online bullying and harassment.

The move comes as a result of a six-month review, which involved examining community policies, collecting data and defining goals.   

As part of this probe, the site conducted a survey of 15,000 Redditors, who confirmed that negative responses to comments makes users reluctant to contribute to discussions, and also stops them from recommending the site to others.

“We’ve seen many conversations devolve into attacks against individuals,” Reddit wrote in a blog post. “We share redditors’ frustration with these interactions.

“We are also seeing more harassment and different types of harassment as people’s use of the internet and the information available on the internet evolve over time.

“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 site says it values privacy, freedom of expression, open discussion and humanity, and wants to uphold these values for its entire user base.

“We are changing our practices to prohibit attacks and harassment of individuals through reddit with the goal of preventing them,” the post adds, going on to define harassment as “Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.”

As well as adopting a zero tolerance policy to harassment, Reddit has also added new ways for users to report incidents of bullying.

They can now report messages, posts, comments and users by emailing contact@reddit.com, or via Modmail, Reddit’s internal messaging service.

SEE ALSO: How to keep your children safe online

This represents the latest in a series of moves by the firm to protect the safety of its users. Earlier this year, Reddit launched its first annual transparency report and also banned revenge porn from being posted.

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