Spring forward… into Reddit’s 2019 transparency report


**TL;DR: Today we published our 2019** [**Transparency Report**](https://www.redditinc.com/policies/transparency-report-2019)**. I’ll stick around to answer your questions about the report (and other topics) in the comments.**

Hi all,

It’s that time of year again when we share Reddit’s annual transparency report.

We share this report each year because you have a right to know how user data is being managed by Reddit, and how it’s both shared and not shared with government and non-government parties.

You’ll find information on content removed from Reddit and requests for user information. This year, we’ve expanded the report to include new data—specifically, a breakdown of content policy removals, content manipulation removals, subreddit removals, and subreddit quarantines.

## By the numbers

Since the [full report](https://www.redditinc.com/policies/transparency-report-2019) is rather long, I’ll call out a few stats below:

**ADMIN REMOVALS**

* In 2019, we removed **~53M** pieces of content in total, mostly for spam and content manipulation (e.g. brigading and vote cheating), exclusive of legal/copyright removals, which we track separately.
* For [Content Policy](https://www.redditinc.com/policies/content-policy) violations, we removed
* **222k** **pieces of content**,
* **55.9k accounts**, and
* **21.9k** **subreddits** (**87%** of which were removed for being unmoderated).
* Additionally, we quarantined **256 subreddits**.

**LEGAL REMOVALS**

* Reddit received **110 requests** from government entities to remove content, of which we complied with **37.3%**.
* In 2019 we removed about **5x more** content for copyright infringement than in 2018, largely due to copyright notices for adult-entertainment and notices targeting pieces of content that had already been removed.

**REQUESTS FOR USER INFORMATION**

* We received a total of **772 requests** for user account information from law enforcement and government entities.
* **366** of these were emergency disclosure requests, mostly from US law enforcement (**68%** of which we complied with).
* **406** were non-emergency requests (**73%** of which we complied with); most were US subpoenas.
* Reddit received an additional **224 requests** to temporarily preserve certain user account information (**86%** of which we complied with).
* Note: We carefully review each request for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If we determine that a request is not legally valid, Reddit will challenge or reject it. (You can read more in our [Privacy Policy](https://www.redditinc.com/policies/privacy-policy) and [Guidelines for Law Enforcement](https://www.redditinc.com/policies/guidelines-for-law-enforcement).)

## While I have your attention…

I’d like to share an update about our thinking around quarantined communities.

When we [expanded our quarantine policy](https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/9jf8nh/revamping_the_quarantine_function/), we created an appeals process for sanctioned communities. One of the goals was to “force subscribers to reconsider their behavior and incentivize moderators to make changes.” While the policy attempted to hold moderators more accountable for enforcing healthier rules and norms, it didn’t address the role that each member plays in the health of their community.

Today, we’re making an update to address this gap: Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension. We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities.

## If you’ve read this far

In addition to this report, we share news throughout the year from teams across Reddit, and if you like posts about what we’re doing, you can stay up to date and talk to our teams in r/RedditSecurity, r/ModNews, r/redditmobile, and r/changelog.

**As usual, I’ll be sticking around to answer your questions in the comments. AMA.**

Update: I’m off for now. Thanks for questions, everyone.



View Reddit by spezView Source

49 thoughts on “Spring forward… into Reddit’s 2019 transparency report

  1. > Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension.

    Upvotecrime: the new thoughtcrime

  2. What are some circumstances or reasoning Reddit provides as to why they refuse to comply with certain government/law enforcement information requests?

  3. “110 requests from government entities to remove, *37%* of which we complied with.”

    50 of these requests were from Turkey. Interesting. I wonder which ones Reddit complied with and why.

  4. Why is there no limit to the amount of subreddits a user can moderate? It’s ridiculous that very few power users can moderate over a hundred or more subreddits.

  5. What goes into the process of giving account information to law enforcement that allows for more non-emergency cases to be accepted than emergency cases? Also is emergency vs non-emergency determined by the law enforcement agencies or by Reddit?

  6. >Reddit received **110 requests** from government entities to remove content, of which we complied with **37.3%**.

    Why were 62.7% rejected?

    Was it due to them being not legally valid? If so, which countries laws do you operate within, since I imagine you have servers in multiple different countries, which then could be under different and possibly conflicting laws?

    *Edit: maths is hard*

  7. Did you ever imagine 14 years ago that you would be dealing with things like this on such a large scale?

    How has your opinions of the internet changed from when Reddit was created all those years ago compared to now?

    Are there any Reddit posts from those years that you specifically remember and that stand out to you?

  8. Thanks for the summary! I do have a question: why do some subreddits get banned, but others only get quarantined? Where exaclty lies the line between getting banned and getting quarentined?

  9. When will Reddit admins take action on karma farming subreddits (ex: /r/FreeKarma4U , /r/FreeKarma4You , /r/FreeKarmaSub4Sub ) which used to bypass subreddit karma requirements, which explicitly violate the [site-wide policy of vote manipulation](https://www.reddithelp.com/en/categories/rules-reporting/account-and-community-restrictions/what-constitutes-vote-cheating-or)?

    > Vote manipulation is against the Reddit rules, whether it is manual, programmatic, or otherwise. Some common forms of vote cheating are:

    > Asking people to vote up or down certain posts

    > Forming or joining a group that votes together, either on a specific post, a user’s posts

  10. spez I would like to ask some clarification on this:

    “Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings”

    Does this mean

    * every/any post inside a quarantined community
    * only posts that further break reddit rules and inside a quarantined community?

    Sorry if it’s “reading comprehension”, this new rule is actually a big one and some clear clarification would be much appreciated.

  11. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for this update.

    One thing that was discussed in some of the public moderator subreddits in recent weeks was populating removal reasons in the mod log for anti-evil removals (so mod teams have some sense of the reason behind a given removal). Is this still in the works?

    Also, for those of us who would like to offer the option to our userbase, is there any chance for a reddit based public mod log?

    Currently, subreddits have to use a third party workaround which is limited and does not allow users the level of transparency they would have with access to the on site log itself.

  12. When will there a be an option to hide one’s comment history? I feel like I’ve seen people talk about this and wanting it to be a feature

  13. Regarding subreddit brigading, is there a chance of getting a feature to force non participation (np) onto users coming from another sub? For instance, /r/Soda gets lots of users coming from /r/hydrohomies and a few other “water” related subreddits and spamming when we’re not a meme subreddit (see our ban log). If we could set non participation from people whose last visited link was /r/hydrohomies, this problem could be resolved without having to try and get the other subreddits to help cross moderate.

    Thanks for this report, it builds trust.

  14. > Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension. We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities.

    Are there specific, delineated thresholds somewhere to read (10 upvotes = warning; 30 = temp suspension, etc.)?

  15. Is reddit ever going to enforce it’s rules on it’s moderators particularly with regard to subreddit bans?

    You ask sub mods why you got anonymously banned (because, perhaps understandably, reddit gave sub mods the ability to ban users anonymously, but which complicates mod accountability, e.g. reddit’s own mod report form asks which mod you’re reporting, but reddit lets mods do things anonymously) then you get modmail muted for 72 hours, rinse repeat. Looking at you /r/news.

    *edit* Oh, also, could you add a choice for the report post thing for advocating violence? “Encouraging or inciting violence”

  16. What is Reddit doing to prevent its platform from being used to push Russian (and other) disinformation to influence the 2020 election in America?

    EDIT: Man, this question angered some Russians…

  17. How effective is reddit’s bot-detection and management? There’s large corporations and state actors both creating and buying old accounts and using them to manipulate the content on this site. Can you please publish more information about your countermeasures for this?

    I would even be in favor of allowing moderators to see origin-subnet hotspots on threads, account age stats, account “life” patterns, etc. Do you make those available?

    And, I know this is a big thing to ask, would it be possible for reddit to make data available to the general research community on this arms race? This kind of manipulation of content manipulation is a huge problem throughout the Internet, and it’s getting worse. If one of the largest sites could make a comprehensive corpus available to researchers this would be a massive benefit for everyone.

  18. Some time ago you removed many posts of r/france that criticize a scam called “Le Village de l’Emploi”, just because this compagny asked you to remove these posts.
    It come to a point that “Le Village de l’Emploi” became a running gag on this sub, because your admins team keep removing some posts on the demand of the compagny.

    Edit : [here is the link to see the full context of the story](https://www.reddit.com/r/france/comments/ewsyzp/reddit_censored_our_discussions_about_a_scam_and/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share)

  19. Why did the algorithm for r/popular (and I believe r/all) change? Often now I see posts with a few hundred upvotes and from more niche subreddits while there’s many posts with 10k+ upvotes I haven’t seen yet.

    On that note, when a new Animal crossing (iirc) trailer released, there were 10 posts in a row from just that subreddit. Which is annoying if you’re not interested in it. So that should be a hint that the algorithm needs tweaking at the very least.

  20. Remember when you guys added the ‘surveillance canary’ to your transparency report a few years ago and it promptly disappeared? What happened there?

  21. Will more staff be added to help with /r/redditrequest? It’s got a backlog of over 2 months, which seems like that many of the people who are meant to do stuff on there are busy with other things, which causes the requests to continue to pile up. Perhaps it would be good to get some people on board who can focus more specifically on that and check the various requests for subs from people to decide which to approve; I’m sure there’d be no shortage of volunteers to help with that. 🙂

  22. I’m concerned about Gallowboob’s abuse of power as a mod of most large subs. Is there anything you can do about it?

  23. >When we expanded our quarantine policy, we created an appeals process for sanctioned communities. One of the goals was to “force subscribers to reconsider their behavior and incentivize moderators to make changes.” While the policy attempted to hold moderators more accountable for enforcing healthier rules and norms, it didn’t address the role that each member plays in the health of their community.

    Have any communities EVER been unquarantined under this policy or does it just exist to provide false hope to prevent these communities from becoming otherwise destructive on reddit? If some have been successfully unquarantined, which ones?

  24. Hi spez. I’d really like a better way to follow up with admins on moderator abuse. Local subs can get mods in there that block certain companies or people from posting over non-policy reasons. It’d be really great to be able to report moderator issues in a way similar to reporting posts.

  25. From 2014 to 2017, reddit complied with about 60% of government requests for user information. This rose sharply to 77% in 2018 and has dropped slightly to 70% in 2019. Why is reddit so much more compliant with government requests now than it was just a few years ago in 2017 for instance?

    |Year|Compliance rate|
    :-:|:-:|
    |2014|58%|
    |2015|60%|
    |2016|62%|
    |2017|61%|
    |2018|77%|
    |2019|70%|

  26. Two questions:

    – Do you have any plans to address the issue of “Power Mods”, users who moderate an impossible number of major subreddits, and abuse their moderation powers to [delete “negative” comments on their own posts](https://i.imgur.com/qIQRAxz.png) or [steal other user’s posts and claim them as their own](https://www.reddit.com/r/trashy/comments/e5v2bl/the_mod_who_removed_a_post_here_reposted_it_on/?sort=top), instead of using those powers to actively improve the communities they’re supposed to be moderating?

    And secondly:

    – What is your opinion on the overuse of the comment locking feature? I can understand its use to prevent a thread from being spammed or brigaded, but nowadays any possibly controversial or differing viewpoint that gets posted is locked and all discussion is prevented. Doesn’t this overuse of shutting down conversations go against the entire purpose of a message board/forum?

    *edit, can’t spell

  27. Two things;

    Would it be possible for Reddit to implement a proper blocking feature, where if you block a user they will not be able to access / see your account anymore? This is for safety and harassment concerns because even if you do your best to have users reported, and you have them blocked, they can still interact with your profile behind your back and stalk you.

    Second thing, I’m asking for better and more diverse report forms, to be able to report a whole user for example for revenge porn, for stolen content, and / or mods for one thing. Filing individual reports for “involuntary pornography” and DMCA claims for example, I have found lately despite getting the reported content removed, the user in question even though they have submitted several content policy breaking posts / comments, is still allowed to be active and continues to post more. Basically why isn’t Reddit doing more to prevent non-consensual porn and stolen content of content makers and why is it so difficult to report them?

  28. There’s been a lot of talk about “regulating” social media (in the US and other nations). There are people on both sides of the “free speech debate”. Examples:

    * people who say that certain speech is being unfairly censored/removed (and shouldn’t be)
    * people who say that certain speech (such as hate speech) should never be allowed anywhere

    Online communities and social media sites such as reddit is where most discussion seems to be happening nowadays. Decisions on allowing/disallowing content could have huge implications for current discussions and opinions being shared today, and could hugely affect online interactions in the future.

    What is reddit’s opinion on this issue? What is your plan going forward? What role do you think social media plays in the discussions and interactions of today?

  29. As you see from these top comments many of reddit’s users are unhappy with power mods and power users. There is pervasive abuse in control of subs and in karma farming. This behavior suppresses genuine voices and replaces them with stolen, astroturfed, freebooted, or otherwise curated and censored content.

    What’s worse if we directly call out the abusive and suppressive behavior we are likely to have our objections removed and accounts banned. Countering foreign influence is important and needed, sure, but most of the corruption and interference on reddit comes from these abusive power mods/users.

    Regular users don’t stand a chance in the face of power users with inorganic, bot-like posting habits and total immunity. We can’t compete with this exploitative behavior and elitist control. Do the admins see a problem here? Is there any way to help us out?

  30. Hi spez!


    I’ve recently decided to give self-hosting the legacy Reddit’s code a try and to see how Admins view Reddit but were surprised and disappointed by some admin features that were broken or unavailable.

    Firstly, I noticed that there’s an [admin tab](https://i.imgur.com/FNNUORJ.png) on each user’s profile, but when clicking it, nothing but a dot appeared. What is under that tab? Banning the user? Changing their username? Reseting their karma? Sending them to your aforementioned voodoo dolls pile?

    Also, I noticed a [Traffic Tab](https://i.imgur.com/Km8b2sm.png) under Admin Tools, but it was locked behind a screen asking me to verify my email, which is impossible without an email service configured. Since, unlike Trophies and Errors, it’s behind an additional layer of security, I believe you won’t be able to provide any info about what’s there. *I’m still curious though*.

    Finally, the code has last been updated in 2017, I think, which was way before Redesign was released. Can you give us any insight into how these functions look on the redesign?


    Thanks,

    An admin wannabe

  31. What’s the plan with the mobile browser? Why is reddit pushing the use of avatars so hard?

    r/mobileweb has been a frustrating experience watching thoughtful feedback by other users get ignored.

  32. Spez. I appreciate and applaud the transparency. However, you never mention anything about spam control. There are subreddits devoted to catching spammers. I myself submitted a list of 20+ accounts that have been spamming the site for months and years, and sometimes I report them to /r/reddit.com weekly, and they’re incredibly bad spammers, and they don’t get caught.

    We moderators have been told “New spam controls” are coming soon for the last three years. Where are they ? What is reddit doing to help curve the plague that is spam? Do you want me to show you what I’m talking about with bad spammers?

    I understand it’s backburner stuff, but its absurd to think we moderators are being left in the dark even after being told for ***three years*** that new things were coming to aid us, when we haven’t heard a damn thing.

  33. Hey, I am head moderator of r/askteenboys.

    What is it that causes Anti Evil to remove posts? Specifically relating to minors.

    For example, [this post about British accents got removed for no clear reason](https://www.reddit.com/r/askteenboys/comments/ezj6j0/why_do_americans_try_to_do_british_accents_which/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share). Another example here [this post isnt that sexual](https://www.reddit.com/r/askteenboys/comments/f3gnsn/boxers_or_tight_underwear/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share).

    Thanks!

  34. /u/spez,

    I see that Reddit has been helpful in removing copyrighted content, but what about protecting the content of the creators who publish to Reddit? I am speaking specifically of /r/NoSleep, which has gone dark this week in protest of content thieves profiting from the work of the creators there:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/NoSleepOOC/comments/f5h023/important_announcement_please_read/

    Is there anything Reddit can do or even better, is doing, to support the independent authors who find audiences and grow their careers on here?

    A number of writing careers have started on NoSleep, not to mention the number of films, television episodes and podcasts that have been generated by rightfully compensating authors for their work. It would be a shame if Reddit lost that outlet.

  35. > Today, we’re making an update to address this gap: Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension. We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities.

    As if Reddit wasn’t already geared toward generating groupthink, you’re going to start threatening users for upvoting things that might violate your nebulously enforced rules? Obviously deliberate chilling effect is obviously deliberate.

  36. Can you elaborate on this punishment policy for users who upvote doubleplusungood posts and comments? If the content is judged contrary to rules, will users receive retroactive punishment for having upvotes it? Will content that will merit punitive action be flagged in some way? What processes are in place to prevent the mass-punishment of users who upvote controversial or unpopular but not rule-breaking content, when the reporting system still lends itself to weaponization by crowdsourcing?

    Basically, what’s the 30,000 foot overview of the process for distinguishing between “kill all <x>” content which will get mass-reported with rightful vigor, and “my views on <y> are <controversial/unpopular>” which often get mass-reported with righteous indignation? Will users have any way of knowing they’re upvoting disapproved ideas?

  37. >When we [expanded our quarantine policy](https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/9jf8nh/revamping_the_quarantine_function/), we created an appeals process for sanctioned communities. One of the goals was to “force subscribers to reconsider their behavior and incentivize moderators to make changes.” While the policy attempted to hold moderators more accountable for enforcing healthier rules and norms, it didn’t address the role that each member plays in the health of their community.

    >Today, we’re making an update to address this gap: Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension. We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities.

    That sounds terrible.

  38. >Today, we’re making an update to address this gap: Users who consistently upvote policy-breaking content within quarantined communities will receive automated warnings, followed by further consequences like a temporary or permanent suspension. We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities.

    &#x200B;

    This is abusive and manipulative on Reddit’s part given your history of subjective takes on content. YOU /u/spez have even manipulated other users submissions YOURSELF and have ADMITTED TO IT WHEN CAUGHT.

    We’ve seen your admins remove posts that didn’t break any Reddit rules, so what’s to stop that same subjective behavior from leading to dishonest bans or suspensions?

    Nothing.

    You may as well save us all a lot of time, and stop lording about over your little fiefdom and just go ahead and ban any and everything you don’t agree with so you can finally enjoy your safe space utopian echo chamber on the interwebs.

    Edit to add, this is such an abusive policy, based on threads I’m reading, it seems you clowns aren’t even telling people the upvote they’re getting in trouble for or how the content they upvoted breaks Reddit’s rules.

    Congrats /u/spez you single handedly fucked this site up beyond redemption. In fact if for some fucked up reason any court ever requested any of my post history and you for some fucked reason gave it to them, I’ll specifically request they subpeona YOUR ASS and point to your admission to manipulating user submitted content. You’re a dishonest, deceitful and hateful little man-child.

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