CNET: Mysterious monolith puzzle has been solved by internet sleuths. “A few days ago the internet went wild at the discovery of a metallic monolith mysteriously standing in the middle of the Utah desert. Discovered by the Utah’s Department of Public Safety, the rumor mill quickly began churning. Was it aliens? Has 2001: A Space Odyssey been brought to life? Thanks to some particularly devoted Reddit users, we now know that the likelihood of it being anything extraterrestrial is slim (though if it was going to happen, I think we can all agree that 2020 would have been the year).”
UVA Today: Study: How Facebook Pushes Users, Especially Conservative Users, Into Echo Chambers . “Analyzing opt-in user data from 2012 to 2016, Brent Kitchens, Steven L. Johnson and Peter Gray, all faculty members in UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, found that all three social media sites [Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter] connect their users to a more diverse range of news sources than they would otherwise visit. However, Facebook tends to polarize users, particularly conservative users, more than other social media platforms. In fact, the researchers found that typical conservative users, in months when they visited Facebook more than usual, read news that was about 30% more conservative than the online news they would typically read. Users who visited Reddit more than usual, on the other hand, read news that was about 50% more moderate than what they would typically read.”
BBC: Quest Sprout: ‘The most wholesome thing on the internet’. “Among the horror and the misery of this year, one tiny round hero has emerged to give thousands of people brief moments of joy. That hero is Quest Sprout.”
Mother Jones: How the Most Toxic, Notorious Pro-Trump Online Community Tricked Reddit and Got Back Online. “Even though their subreddit has been banned from Reddit for over four months, The_Donald’s former members continue to wreak havoc on the site. Mother Jones has gained access to two servers hosted by Discord where former members of the banned subreddit gather, including a private server that requires members to be vetted. Chat messages posted there show how former members of The_Donald have found new homes on Reddit and continue to coordinate and plan the spread of hate, vitriol, and disinformation on the site and in other venues, despite the company’s ban.”
Jakarta Post: TikTok urges social media alliance against suicide content. “TikTok on Tuesday proposed an alliance with nine other social media platforms to work collectively and rapidly to remove suicide content, following an incident this month when a man killed himself on Facebook. The Chinese-owned app said it had set out its proposal in a letter to the chief executives of Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest and Reddit.”
Washington Post: The unemployed are taking their struggles to Reddit, a ‘beacon of light in this long dark night’. “Users join the subreddit for different reasons. Some have questions. Some are desperate. Some want to help. Some have nowhere else to turn. Many will start their post’s title with their state name, to help localize the discussion. Multiple users stressed that r/unemployment proved the only place they could find reasonable advice on navigating the unsolvable maze of bureaucracy. A striking aspect of the subreddit is how it brings people together regardless of their politics — an anomaly in our divided America. Unemployment has a tendency to wash away differences. Socialists, libertarians and everyone in between fill the discussion, and everyone gets something slightly different out of it.”
The American Genius: New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable). “Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums…. Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.” I took a quick look at it. It is a LOT like TweetDeck. The icons on the Reddit posts are a little overwhelming, but to me it’s a lot better than Reddit’s desktop presentation.
MakeUseOf: 6 Free and Fantastic Alternatives to the Official Reddit Website & App. “Are you still using the plain old Reddit through the official website and official apps? Check out some of these best Reddit websites and apps to see what you’re missing. There’s nothing too wrong with the official Reddit apps, but they’re severely limited in features. Given the online forum’s open nature, it makes no sense to use these when there are much better apps made by third-party developers. Try them out, and you’ll never go back to the plain old website.”
MIT Technology Review: How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind. “So how do you talk to a person who believes a conspiracy theory? This is something that the members of one of the internet’s most vibrant communities, r/ChangeMyView, deal with on a daily basis. This is the place on Reddit where people go to have their own beliefs challenged, and it is known as a calm, moderate place for debate. We asked some of its most active users, as well as some conspiracy theory researchers, for their tips.”
Los Angeles Times: Reddit moderators spent years asking for help fighting hate. The company may finally be listening. “When [Jefferson] Kelley, a Reddit moderator, booted hateful users off threads where Black people discussed sensitive personal experiences, racial slurs piled up in his inbox. Crude remarks about women filled the comment sections under his favorite ‘Star Trek’ GIFs. The proliferation of notorious forums, including one that perpetuated a vicious racist stereotype about Black fathers, stung Kelley, a Black father himself. Kelley and other moderators repeatedly pleaded with the company to back them up and take stronger action against harassment and hate speech. But Reddit never quite came through. Then, all of a sudden, that seemed to change.
Mashable: Netflix drops ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ evidence on Reddit to help internet sleuths solve cases. “Netflix’s recent revival of the beloved Unsolved Mysteries series is a hit, with the show appearing on the site’s Top 10 Most Watched list since premiering. While a lot has changed in the reboot itself, the biggest change is arguably how the show now exists in a world with Reddit sleuths.”
Engadget: Reddit and LinkedIn will fix clipboard snooping in their iOS apps. “The clipboard privacy feature in iOS 14 is prompting more major developers to tone down their apps’ nosy behavior. To start, Reddit told The Verge in a statement that it would fix code in its iOS app that copies clipboard data with virtually every keystroke, as Urspace.io co-founder Don Morton discovered.”
OneZero: Months Before Reddit Purge, The_Donald Users Created a New Home. “Monday, Reddit banned thousands of subreddits including The_Donald, a conservative community of nearly 800,000 members accused of inciting violence, spreading white supremacist propaganda, and other repeat offenses since its creation in 2015. The takedown marked Reddit’s latest push to curb hate speech on the platform, and The_Donald was a ripe target for moderation. But while the community was purged from Reddit, its members have been relocating to an alternate website for months now, suggesting that users were expecting the ban — and serving as a reminder that ‘deplatforming’ is only so useful.”
CU Boulder Today: As the coronavirus spread, two social media communities drifted apart. “On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization put a name to the mysterious respiratory disease spreading with alarming speed around the globe: COVID-19. Around the same time, two of the internet’s most popular communities for discussing this unfolding crisis began to drift apart—with one increasingly embracing racist language and conspiracy theories, while the other tended to avoid those topics. Now, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are exploring this tale of two online communities: the r/Coronavirus and r/China_flu discussion boards on the social media site Reddit.”
CBS News: Reddit bans pro-Trump forum “The_Donald” in hate speech crackdown. “Reddit has banned ‘The_Donald,’ a forum that united fans of President Donald Trump on the social media platform. While announcing policy changes, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said Monday that the popular subreddit was shut down because it continuously violated its hate speech rules.”