The dangers of Reddit as news

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The platform site Reddit has become an increasingly popular source for news. Reddit is a content aggregation site where anonymous users can “upvote” or “downtown” original content or content already existing on the internet. Upvotes push posts toward the top of the site and make them more visible to users, while downvotes push posts toward the bottom of the site, where they are less visible.

Reddit often contains left-leaning content that appeals to the male demographic. Informal and formal news articles are uploaded to the site. Videos, memes, gifs, chats and other content are also uploaded to the site, which tailors itself to users’ preferences based on upvotes and downvotes.

Reddit is attractive to users for a variety of reasons, including its easy navigability, entertainment value, personal preference settings and the sheer fact that it posts the most interesting news (according to audiences’ upvotes and downvotes) items first.

Reddit contains a massive amount of information pertaining to a vast array of topics. Reddit is widely known for its immediacy in posting news, often besting more formal news outlets in this category. However, its news also contains inaccuracies on occasion. Perhaps one of its biggest blunders to date was its misidentification of multiple bombers during the Boston marathon bombing.

This presents a problem. A large number of users are getting their news from Reddit, which may include incorrect information. Potentially thousands of people are being misinformed via Reddit news.

Were more formal sanctions placed on Reddit, it may lose its unique quality of laid back entertainment and easygoing atmosphere.

However, perhaps labels could be applied to postings to indicate which news stories are blogs, editorials, credible and objective news, etc. Users may continue to take faux news at face value until some measure is taken on Reddit or they are informed that not every posting may be legitimate.

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2 thoughts on “The dangers of Reddit as news

  1. I agree with the hive mentality of Reddit. Where misinformation can cause major problems, there is a flip side. When One Million Moms protested JC Penny for having a lesbian spokesperson, Ellen, Reddit rose up. They posted the comments from One Million Moms and voted it up. They added the we link and phone number of the Moms. This crashed their servers from heavy traffic and flooded their phone lines with angry people. Also, when one user posted his uncle was dying of cancer and all he wanted was post cards. Thousands of users sent cards, pictures, and gifts to the dying man. There are pluses and minuses to hive mentality.

  2. You know how in a small town gossip explodes so fast that citizens across a city may know about, say, a traffic accident before the police even know? Reddit seems like a fascinating example of an enormous community that maintains the lightning gossip strikes of a small town–including the wild inaccuracies and exaggerations that lead everyone to muddle fact and fiction.

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