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Reddit communities ‘go dark’ in protest over Covid misinformation

Reddit has been targeted by the users for not handling COVID misinformation properly.

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Reddit has been targeted by the users for not handling COVID misinformation properly.

More than 135 Reddit communities, or subreddits, have “gone dark”, which blocks non-members from reading or joining the page, in protest at the site’s refusal to limit discussions that propagate misleading theories about the pandemic. The protest covers many of the site’s largest subreddits, including r/Futurology and r/TIFU, which have more than 10 million subscribers each.

The misinformation about the COVID has spread fast and all the social media platforms are dealing with it. The information has been weaponized, giving rise to spamming and brigading. The message added that the group had supported protests against Pokémon Go’s developer recently after it announced plans to reverse safety measures implemented at the start of the pandemic last year.

One of the Reddit communities cited by the protesting groups, r/NoNewNormal, has been “quarantined” by the site, meaning Reddit has flagged its content as having the potential to be “highly offensive or upsetting” and preventing it from showing up on the normal homepage.

Research by the UK and US-based Center for Countering Digital Hate published this year found that the vast majority of Covid-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from 12 people – including the Kennedy family scion Robert F Kennedy Jr – with a combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms.

CCDH analyzed 812,000 Facebook posts and tweets and found just under two-thirds came from the so-called disinformation dozen. Facebook said it had already taken action against some of the groups mentioned in the report, while Kennedy said he had never posted an inaccurate statement on his Instagram account.

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