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."

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