CNET – Reddit on Wednesday banned an active COVID misinformation subreddit.
The move comes after other subreddits called on the site’s administrators to take more action against the spread of false information about the pandemic and vaccines.
An admin post in r/RedditSecurity confirmed that the subreddit r/NoNewNormal, which was full of COVID misinformation, was banned. Though the admin confirmed there’s been a “pronounced” increase in COVID denial since July — the same month federal and state governments began implementing vaccine mandates for employees — the reason for the subreddit’s banning was its connection to more than 80 brigades.
A brigade involves members of one subreddit flooding another subreddit, usually to harass the other users.
The ban page seen when visiting r/nonewnormal
“There can be no room for leniency when people are dying as a result of misinformation on this platform. Reddit as a global platform needs to take responsibility here.”
The Reddit admin also said 54 other subreddits will be quarantined, which means they won’t be listed in search results on the site and won’t show up in certain Reddit feeds, such as Popular. NoNewNormal was quarantined on Aug. 11, but according to the admin, users on the subreddit continued their rule-breaking behavior.
The spread of misinformation has been a problem across social media sites amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Reddit, experts say the platform’s voting system feeds into the issue, encouraging people to one-up each other with more attention grabbing and extreme posts.
While Reddit says the decision to ban NoNewNormal was prompted by brigades, the move comes after a grassroots effort to put the spotlight on COVID-19 misinformation on the site.
On Aug. 25, a post from r/VaxxHappened was shared with more than a thousand other subreddits. It called for Reddit to take action against the COVID misinformation on the platform.
“There is a good chance that the disinformation that Reddit is currently inundated with will necessitate people a stay at the toxicology department in the hospital or even cost them their lives … ” READ MORE.