Reddit replaces opaque shadowbanning system with account suspensions

Occurred: November 2015

Reddit replaced the controversial practice of 'shadowbanning' its users with the suspension of their accounts.

Reddit had shadowbanned users seen to break the site's rules, and had considered it an efficient way to stop spammers flooding its platform. 

Shadowbanning consists of users being notified via email and on the website that they had been suspended and for how long. When shadowbanned, Reddit users could only see their own content, were not informed that they were banned, and had to go through an opaque and largely unstructured appeals process. 

An unofficial subreddit, r/shadowban, had even been created to let users know if they had been shadowbanned. 

Reddit's shadowbanning system had been seen as opaque, largely unaccountable, and was accused many times of being unfair and of censoring appropriate and legal content.

Operator: Reddit
Developer: Reddit
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Block/reduce user visibility
Technology: Algorithmic content moderation
Issue: Fairness; Freedom of expression - censorship; Harassment
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: November 2021