Oct 9, 2020 - Technology

Peloton is figuring out how to moderate extremist content

Illustration of a businessman riding a silhouette of a Peloton bike

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Peloton, the networked fitness-bike seller, has found itself in the position of having to scour its forums and leaderboards to remove hateful speech.

The bottom line: It highlights how toxic the social media environment is in 2020. If it's online and social, it's probably going to require moderation.

Driving the news: The exercise company has decided to temporarily ban political speech on its groups and Facebook pages.

  • Terms related to QAnon, the right-wing fringe conspiracy theory that Facebook recently banned, have reportedly also been showing up on Peloton's leaderboards.
  • The company expected the occasional vulgar username, but never imagined it would find itself needing to do full-on content moderation like a big social network.
  • Members are allowed to adopt political usernames in the leaderboard, supporting political issues or causes. However, Peloton bans slurs, epithets and dog whistles.

What they're saying: "Peloton was built on community, inclusivity, and being the best version of yourself," the company said in a statement to Axios. "We welcome members from all walks of life to have respectful and thought-provoking discussions .... However, we have a zero-tolerance policy against hateful content."

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