Reddit Becomes Latest Platform To Act Against Russia's Spread of Misinformation

Popular forum site Reddit has become the latest to take action against Russia after quarantining the community subreddits r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics.

This week, sites including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have made moves to restrict Russian state disinformation over the war in Ukraine, announcing the pausing of advertisements and prohibiting monetizing of content.

Shortly before the action from Reddit, the community r/Russia had 266,000 members, and its counterpart r/RussiaPolitics had over 6,000.

Reddit describes itself as a community-determined aggregator of content. The social media platform allows posts to be "upvoted" or '"downvoted" based on if they like it. If a post gets lots of upvotes, it moves up the Reddit rankings so more people will see it.

A subreddit is an area of the site that focuses on a particular topic where users can share content. Some of the most popular subreddits on the site include r/Popular, r/funny, and r/AskReddit.

Reddit says that a community will be quarantined on Reddit if they deem the content to be extremely offensive or upsetting to the average user. They also state that in other cases, communities may be quarantined as a result of promoting hoaxes or sharing things that are actively falsified.

A spokesperson from Reddit told Newsweek: "We are clear in our policies that moderators and users may not attempt to manipulate and interfere with the conversations or communities on our platform.

"In line with these policies, we have quarantined r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics and removed a moderator for acting in bad faith. We have connected directly with the remaining moderators to provide guidance and remind them of our policies. We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as needed."

Subreddits that have been quarantined will not appear in feeds and are not included in search recommendations. No revenue can be made from a quarantined subreddit, and users who do find the subreddit will be displayed a warning that requires users to explicitly opt-in to viewing the content.

When a user finds the page, a warning is displayed that reads: "Are you sure you want to view this community? This community contains a high volume of information not supported by credible sources." It then gives the user the option to continue to the page, or return back to the site's homepage.

A post shared elsewhere on Reddit shared the news, where Reddit users commented on the action taken by the site.

One commenter wrote: "That sub is on a whole new level of propaganda. You can't be there for more than two minutes without reading another blatant conspiracy. They actually think Ukraine is the aggressor here."

Another said: "A lot of anti-Russian sentiment going on in this thread. The Russian people are the enemy just as much as the common American citizen was an enemy to whoever America invaded. It's Putin, not some 20-year-old Russian college kid or 80-year-old grandmother, that is the enemy."

Russia-Ukraine misinformation is running rampant—here's how to spot it.

Read the latest on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on our live blog here.

Screenshot of Reddit quarantine warning
A screenshot of the warning displayed by Reddit when a user lands on the quarantined page. Reddit has become the latest social media outlet to impose restrictions on misinformation coming from Russia. Reddit.com