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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for PTTOW!

In “Antisocial Media," New Yorker contributing editor Andrew Marantz discusses the state of free speech and the web, with an inside look at Reddit, the internet’s fourth-most-popular site, after Google, YouTube, and Facebook, and a well-known breeding ground for hate speech and trolling.

Why it matters: "Some people end up on Reddit by accident, find it baffling, and never visit again. But people who do use it — redditors, as they’re called — often use it all day long, to the near-exclusion of anything else."

  • "To its devotees, Reddit feels proudly untamed, one of the last Internet gi- ants to resist homogeneity. Most Reddit pages have a throwback aesthetic, with a few crudely designed graphics and a tangle of text: an original post, comments on the post, responses to the comments, responses to the responses."
  • "Reddit is made up of more than a million individual communities, or subreddits, some of which have three subscribers, some twenty million. Every subreddit is devoted to a specific kind of content, ranging from vital to trivial: r/News, r/Politics, r/Trees (for marijuana enthusiasts), r/Marijuan-Enthusiasts (for tree enthusiasts), r/MildlyInteresting."
  • Reddit CEO Steve Huffman: "For a while, we called ourselves the front page of the Internet ... These days, I tend to say that we’re a place for open and honest conversations — 'open and honest' meaning authentic, meaning messy, meaning the best and worst and realest and weirdest parts of humanity."
  • The article revives a line from former Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao, in the WashPost in 2015: "The trolls are winning."

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) forced Senate clerks to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, which took nearly 11 hours and lasted until 2:05 a.m. Friday. The Senate then adjourned and is expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. to debate the bill before considering amendments.

1 hour ago - Health

Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.