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Reddit Moderators Call for More Action to Address Racism and Hate Speech on the Platform

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Against the backdrop of the #BlackLivesMatter protests across the US, a group representing hundreds of Reddit moderators, who lead some of the platform’s most popular communities, has published an open letter calling for the platform to take more action against racism and hate speech.

As per the letter:

“The problem of Reddit’s leadership supporting and providing a platform for racist users and hateful communities has long been an issue. Nearly six years ago, dozens of subreddits signed the original open letter to the Reddit admins calling for action. While the Reddit admins acknowledged the letter and said it was a high priority to address this issue, extremely little has been done in the intervening years.”

The group also notes that despite promises, Reddit’s leadership team has failed to act, addressing CEO Steve Huffman specifically:

“These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough. It has been five years since your return as CEO and this still remains Reddit’s most glaring problem.”

Reddit has long been known for its free-speech approach, which has lead to it facilitating some of the web’s more controversial elements. Reddit played a key role in the distribution of celebrity nude photos, obtained via a hack, back in 2014, while it’s also been a point of focus for the toxic #gamergate discussion

Reddit has taken steps to clean up its act in more recent years, but evidently, moderators don’t believe those measures have been enough. Indeed, a recent report from the BBC suggests that at least one subreddit is now shutting down activity at some points in the day in order to limit the amount of racist and extremist content flooding its moderation team. 

The moderator group has called on the platform to take action in six specific ways:

  • Enact a sitewide policy against racism, slurs, and hatespeech targeted at protected groups – The group says that it’s time to “enact a specific and detailed policy that protects the disadvantaged members of our communities from hate based on their sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, or disability”.
  • Be proactive in banning hate-based communities – The group says that Reddit generally only takes action on hate subreddits when they’re featured in the news, which is not good enough.
  • Be proactive in banning hate users – The group also calls for more action against moderators who allow such content, in order to better address the core problem.
  • Reddit needs to hire more minorities/women, especially in leadership roles – The group also calls for more diversity in the platform’s management “to help shift the corporate culture and policies to be more equitable for all”.
  • Reddit needs to hire more community managers – The group says that Reddit needs to invest in paid managers to further address issues.
  • Honor Alexis Ohanian’s wishes to have his Reddit Board seat filled with a black candidate – And lastly, they call on Reddit to fulfill outgoing board member Alexis Ohanian’s request – which Reddit has done this week with the appointment of Michael Seibel.

​Huffman has posted a brief comment on the letter, noting that many of these issues align with Reddit’s already communicated intention to review its policies.

“We’d like to show progress with what we do in the coming weeks rather than what we say.”

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As noted, now with 430 million monthly active users, Reddit has been working to improve its systems in order to provide a more brand-safe environment for advertisers. This latest call-out suggests that it still has its work cut out for it, and given the stakes, it seems likely that the platform will, indeed, respond and seek to revise its approach.

How far those efforts will extend we’ll have to wait and see, but now, it seems, is the time for Reddit to make a significant shift.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

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Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.

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Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.

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These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.



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