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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Reddit said Tuesday the company removed 6% of the content uploaded to its site last year, up from a little under 5% in 2019.

Why it matters: Reddit attributes the uptick in removals in part to policy changes it made last year giving company moderators clearer positions against hate and racism.

  • Those guideline changes happened in conjunction with Reddit banning its controversial subreddit channel r/The_Donald, along with 2,000 other subreddit groups and users that violated its content policies aimed at hate speech.
  • The company said it began to see less hate speech shortly after the updates.

By the numbers: Of the content taken down, 2% was removed by Reddit staff and 4% was removed by moderators, both Reddit channel moderators and automated tools. The amount of content removed by moderators on Reddit — both human and automated — increased by 61% last year.

  • Reddit attributes that increase to more frequent use of its automated content moderation tool (Automod) to remove content from subreddits and a 49% increase in content review submissions compared to 2019.
  • Reddit notes that Automods can be particularly helpful in proactively weeding out bad comments and posts before they are reported.
  • The company's employees last year removed a total of 82,858 communities for things like hate content and harassment, as well as porn and violent crime.
  • In total, about 6% of the more than 3 billion pieces of content uploaded to the platform in 2020 was removed.

The big picture: Reddit says the vast majority (99%) of the content removed was manipulated content, things like spam, community interference, voter manipulation, etc., instead of actual content policy infringements.

  • Less than 1% of the content it removed was attributable to things like harassment, hate speech, violent content, etc.
  • To that end, most of the accounts Reddit permanently sanctioned were for spam.

The bottom line: Those stats show that it's often much easier for social media and messaging companies to police for bad behavior on their platforms, as opposed to posts and comments that violate content policies. Facebook and other tech giants have said they also use this approach when tackling misinformation.

Go deeper

Feb 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Americans are consuming more foreign content than ever

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Content from abroad is boosting its share of the American entertainment diet, thanks in large part to streaming, the pandemic and the creator economy.

Why it matters:  "As 'American exceptionalism' has become less of a truth geopolitically, the same goes for entertainment," says Brad Grossman, founder and CEO of ZEITGUIDE.

Feb 15, 2021 - Technology

Audio takes off during the pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The mass adoption of wireless headphones and smart devices, combined with people being home all day and not in public spaces, has created a boom for audio — and every big media and tech company is scrambling to claim a piece of it.

Why it matters: The audio boom is milestone for accessibility and a boon to content creators, but it also presents new challenges for content moderation.

Narrowing the employee divide

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Companies are narrowing the blue- and white-collar experience as they're forced to adapt to a worker-led market.

Driving the news: Basic office tools and concepts like corporate communications and schedule flexibility are migrating to frontline operations through investments in technology.