Mar 12, 2018

How Reddit became the internet's front page

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

Trump's big, empty beef with Twitter

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump finally acted on his now year-old threat to take action against social media platforms for alleged bias against conservatives. But so far, according to experts in both government and the industry, the threat looks mostly empty.

Driving the news: Trump escalated his war on Twitter Friday morning, tweeting repeatedly that the company needs to be regulated after it overnight added a warning label to a tweet of his calling for the military to start shooting looters, which violated Twitter’s rules against glorifying violence.

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

The Third Police Precinct burns in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Demonstrators demanding justice burned a Minneapolis police station and took control of the streets around it last night, heaving wood onto the flames, kicking down poles with surveillance cameras and torching surrounding stores.

What's happening: The crowd was protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was snuffed out Tuesday by a white Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for about eight minutes.

Minneapolis mayor to Trump: “Weakness is pointing your finger” during a crisis

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired back at President Trump on Friday, after the president accused the mayor of weak leadership amid violence sparked by the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Driving the news: Trump made his accusations in a pair of tweets early Friday, saying he would bring the national guard into Minneapolis if Frey couldn't “bring the City under control.”