Reddit banned an anti-vaccine, anti-mask community after 135 of its biggest forums protested

Reddit blind community
Reddit bans a subreddit that often spreads COVID-19 misinformation. Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Reddit banned the subreddit r/NoNewNormal after 135 subreddits launched a protest.
  • The subreddit was a source of misinformation about COVID-19, masks, and vaccines.
  • r/NoNewNormal was banned for intruding into COVID-related discussions on other subreddits.
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Reddit announced on Wednesday that it banned the subreddit r/NoNewNormal, known for its anti-vax and anti-mask content, after 135 other subreddits protested the company’s refusal to ban COVID-19 disinformation.

An admin post on r/Security stated that r/NoNewNormal was banned for brigading– or intruding onto discussions on other subreddits about COVID-19 and related topics, often to harass users. The subreddit was connected to 80 “brigades.”

Reddit also stated that the company will create a new reporting feature that will allow moderators to more easily tell the company when they see “community interference.”

54 other subreddits were also “quarantined,” meaning users see a warning before entering the subreddit and the subreddit’s content won’t be featured on the Reddit homepage. Though r/NoNewNormal has been quarantined since early August and had recieved warnings from moderators, the subreddit’s behavior didn’t budge.

Reddit’s CEO had previously said that Reddit should be a place for open discussion, drawing criticism for allowing dangerous misinformation to spread during a pandemic, leading some of the biggest subreddits to protest.

Subreddits such as r/Futurology and r/pokemongo decided to “go dark” and block non-members from joining or viewing the subreddit’s content in protest of Reddit’s reluctance to ban disinformation. Many specifically called out r/NoNewNormal as a source of misinformation that should be shut down.

Weaponized misinformation is a key problem shaping our Future. Reddit won’t enforce their policies against misinformation, brigading, and spamming. Misinformation subreddits such as NoNewNormal and r/conspiracy must be shut down. People are dying from misinformation,” the moderators of r/Futurology wrote.