Reddit's refusal to ban communities spreading COVID misinformation has sparked protests among different subreddits. 

More than 100 subreddits have gone private as an act of protest to Reddit's decision not to ban COVID misinformation communities on the platform. 

These subreddits include PokemonGo and Futurology. 

Reddit Refuses to Ban COVID Misinformation Communities

Reddit has refused to remove COVID misinformation communities after moderators of at least 450 subreddits wrote an open letter asking the platform to take action against the spread of misinformation. 

According to Ars Technica, Reddit has said that it appreciates that "not everyone agrees with the current approach to getting us all through the pandemic, and some are still wary of vaccinations. Dissent is a part of Reddit and the foundation of democracy." 

Reddit, however, assured that it will take action against communities who take part in COVID-related fraud, which includes fake vaccine cards, and encourage harm. 

The platform has also quarantined a subreddit called r/NoNewNormal. According to the Ars Technica report, "users can still go to that subreddit after viewing a message that advises "consult[ing] your physician" for medical advice and points to information on vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Related Article: US COVID-19 Misinformation Could Be A MAJOR Threat As One-Third Of Residents are Still Unvaccinated, Says Surgeon General

Open Letter of Subreddit Moderators

Moderators of over 450 subreddits previously published an open letter in a subreddit called r/vaxxhappened. The open letter asked for Reddit to take action against the rampant spread of COVID misinformation on the platform. 

Regarding Reddit's move to quarantine the r/NoNewNormal subreddit, the moderators said that "it is clear that even after promising to tackle the problem of misinformation on this site, nothing of substance has been done aside from quarantining a medium-sized subreddit, which barely reduces traffic and does little to stop misinformation."

The moderators who took part in the open letter have pointed out that Reddit needs to take responsibility as a global platform. The moderators have also directly addressed the admins of the platform to ask that they remove misinformation that can endanger lives. 

"Subreddits which exist solely to spread medical disinformation and undermine efforts to combat the global pandemic should be banned," the open letter reads. 

Subreddits Go Dark in Protest

r/PokemonGo Subreddit Goes Dark in Protest Against Reddit
(Photo : Screenshot taken from the PokemonGo subreddit)

Reddit's continuous refusal to ban communities that spread COVID misinformation has sparked protests among subreddits. According to the Ars Technica report, at least 135 subreddits have gone private as a sign of protest. 

Among these subreddits are two that have 10 million or more subscribers. These subreddits are r/TIFU and r/Futurology. 

"Futurology has gone private to protest Reddit's inaction on COVID-19 misinformation," reads a statement posted on the r/Futurology subreddit. 

"Misinformation subreddits such as NoNewNormal and r/conspiracy must be shut down. People are dying from misinformation," the statement asserts.

r/PokemonGo has also joined the list of subreddits with at least one million subscribers that have gone dark. 

This is not the first time that subreddits have gone dark in protest of something that Reddit has done or refused to do. In 2015, subreddits went dark in protest after Reddit fired a key employee, who was influential in the Q&A section of the platform. 

Also Read: [STUDY] Researchers Claim Young Adults Have Higher Chance of Believing Coronavirus Misinformation, Including Severity and Origin

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Written by Isabella James

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