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21 Jun, 2023
1 min time to read

In protest of Reddit's treatment of voluntary moderators, several sabreddits moved to the NSFW (Not Safe for Work) category, with unexpected consequences.

As a result, non-porn communities are finding themselves flooded with explicit content, aiming to create friction and deprive Reddit of ad revenue.

The protests began when over 8,000 subreddits went dark to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with Reddit's API pricing changes, which would lead to the shutdown of popular third-party apps. However, Reddit's response to the protests has been met with backlash.

CEO Steve Huffman expressed his disapproval, comparing the prolonged protests to a disturbance in a city where the majority of citizens want to return to normalcy. Some moderators even received threatening messages from the company, intensifying the tension.

While thousands of subreddits have reopened, the decision to switch to the NSFW category introduces a new layer of complexity for these communities. Accessing NSFW subreddits requires users to verify that they are at least 18 years old and be logged into the mobile app.

Additionally, Reddit's changes to its data API will limit access to "mature content," preventing third-party developers from displaying such content in their apps. Also NSFW subreddits are not allowed to advertise, potentially affecting Reddit's revenue.

According to Reddit, content that includes nudity, pornography, or profanity, which a reasonable viewer would not want to access in a public or formal setting, should be marked as NSFW. However, the rules as to when content should be marked as NSFW are not clearly defined.

Several subreddits, including r/interestingasfuck, r/TIHI (Thanks I Hate It), r/formula1, r/videos, r/HomeKit, and r/HomePod, have made the switch to NSFW in protest. Additionally, some non-NSFW subreddits like r/iOS, r/simpsonsshitposting, and r/Wellthatsucks have seen users posting explicit and inappropriate content due to relaxed moderation policies.

UPD

Of recent actions, Reddit removed moderators behind this latest protests (who changed subreddits to label them “Not Safe for Work” and not available for advertisers) before restoring a few of them. The mods of r/mildlyinteresting report their accounts have been reinstated.