One month after introducing a new anti-harassment policy, Reddit has removed five user groups, saying that these groups encouraged harassment.

Among the groups being banned are "fatpeoplehate," which is the only one of the five that has more than 5,000 users, according to Reddit itself.

"Today we are announcing a change in community management on reddit. Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to have authentic conversations and share ideas and content on an open platform," said Reddit in a blog post. "We want as little involvement as possible in managing these interactions but will be involved when needed to protect privacy and free expression, and to prevent harassment."

The other four subreddits had between 149 and 3071 subscribers, however saying that fatpeoplehate is the only subreddit with over 5,000 subscribers is a little misleading. According to recent metrics, the page had over 150,000 subscribers.

While most will agree that the subreddits that were banned do seem very hateful, many are suggesting that the days of Reddit being an open forum for anyone are over. While at one time anything was acceptable on Reddit, the website has shifted its limits to not allow things like sexually explicit images of minors and sexualized images taken without the subjects consent.

Going forward, deciding which posts and subreddits should be banned will be an issue for Reddit, and one that will likely cause much controversy on the site.

"We are continuing to add to our team to manage community issues, and we are making incremental changes over time," continued the company in its statement. "We want to make sure that the changes are working as intended and that we are incorporating your feedback when possible. Ultimately, we hope to have less involvement, but right now, we know we need to do better and to do more."

Recently appointed Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has been making a number of moves against online harassment, which certainly seems like a good move. Online harassment is becoming an increasingly big problem, with social media networks like Twitter still figuring out how to combat harassment on their websites.

Some Reddit users are taking things so seriously that there is even talk of a "revolt" against Pao. An alternative to fatpeoplehate has already been started on Reddit, however it is unclear how long the new subreddit will be allowed to remain on the site. Even those against the subreddit have said that it being banned is over the line.

"I'm overweight and was frequently offended by FPH on Reddit, so I blocked it. It being banned is ridiculous," said one user.

Photo: Eva Blue | Flickr

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