Reddit banned two subreddits, r/Watchpeopledie and r/Gore, after they began to circulate footage of Friday’s terrorist attack in New Zealand, which claimed 49 lives. r/Watchpeopledie was particularly infamous for posting real-life clips of people meeting their demise.
Reddit has banned two subreddits, r/Watchpeopledie and r/Gore, after they began to circulate footage of Friday’s terrorist attack in New Zealand.
r/Watchpeopledie was particularly notorious for hosting real-life video clips and GIFs of people meeting their demise. The subreddit had more than 300,000 subscribers. But on Friday, both r/Watchpeopledie and r/Gore were shut down for violating Reddit’s content policy against “glorifying or encouraging violence.”
Reddit made the decision as all the major internet companies have been trying to prevent footage of Friday’s shootings from spreading over social media. The killings, which took the lives of 49 people, were initially live-streamed over Facebook before the video began circulating to other platforms.
Why Reddit suddenly decided to ban r/Watchpeopledie —despite its years of circulating other grisly videos— wasn’t totally explained. A company spokesperson merely said: “We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites or glorifies violence will get users and communities banned from Reddit. Subreddits that fail to adhere to those site-wide rules will be banned.”
Indeed, at least some users in r/Watchpeopledie subreddit were adamant about keeping footage of Friday’s shooting up.
(credit: Drew Harwell via Twitter.)
“The video stays up until someone censors us,” posted one moderator on the subreddit before the ban. “Hopefully Reddit believes in letting you decide for yourself whether or not you want to see unfiltered reality. Regardless of what you believe, this is an objective look into a terrible incident like this.”
Prior to Friday’s ban, Reddit had attempted to rein in the r/Watchpeopledie subreddit with a “quarantine,” which would warn incoming visitors about the graphic and potentially offensive content inside. Users within the subreddit had also argued the grisly videos taught people to cherish life.
But in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack, some critics have begun blasting social media, claiming platforms such as Reddit, YouTube and Facebook have done little to stop the spread of hate and extremism.
This subreddit thing with @reddit is akin to us all removing our shoes at security after the terrorist tried to blow up a plane with his shoes. There’s no action taken on the root causes. There are plenty of subreddits which radicalize people with hate that they’re not adressing.
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) March 15, 2019