TL;DR: A hacker broke into a few of Reddit’s systems and managed to access some user data, including some current email addresses and a 2007 database backup containing old salted and hashed passwords. Since then we’ve been conducting a painstaking investigation to figure out just what was accessed, and to improve our systems and processes to prevent this from happening again.
On June 19, we learned that between June 14 and June 18, an attacker compromised a few of our employees’ accounts with our cloud and source code hosting providers. Already having our primary access points for code and infrastructure behind strong authentication requiring two factor authentication (2FA), we learned that SMS-based authentication is not nearly as secure as we would hope, and the main attack was via SMS intercept. We point this out to encourage everyone here to move to token-based 2FA.
Although this was a serious attack, the attacker did not gain write access to Reddit systems; they gained read-only access to some systems that contained backup data, source code and other logs. They were not able to alter Reddit information, and we have taken steps since the event to further lock down and rotate all production secrets and API keys, and to enhance our logging and monitoring systems.
Now that we've concluded our investigation sufficiently to understand the impact, we want to share what we know, how it may impact you, and what we've done to protect us and you from this kind of attack in the future.
What information was involved?
Since June 19, we’ve been working with cloud and source code hosting providers to get the best possible understanding of what data the attacker accessed. We want you to know about two key areas of user data that was accessed:
As the attacker had read access to our storage systems, other data was accessed such as Reddit source code, internal logs, configuration files and other employee workspace files, but these two areas are the most significant categories of user data.
What is Reddit doing about it?
Some highlights. We:
What can you do?
First, check whether your data was included in either of the categories called out above by following the instructions there.
If your account credentials were affected and there’s a chance the credentials relate to the password you’re currently using on Reddit, we’ll make you reset your Reddit account password. Whether or not Reddit prompts you to change your password, think about whether you still use the password you used on Reddit 11 years ago on any other sites today.
If your email address was affected, think about whether there’s anything on your Reddit account that you wouldn’t want associated back to that address. You can find instructions on how to remove information from your account on this help page.
And, as in all things, a strong unique password and enabling 2FA (which we only provide via an authenticator app, not SMS) is recommended for all users, and be alert for potential phishing or scams.
We’re constantly in awe of what redditors can accomplish when they join forces, from raising money for children’s hospitals to shutting down the “inevitable” SOPA/PIPA. Today, European redditors, along with other concerned EU netizens, helped do the impossible once more. Thanks to the ruckus they raised with their Members of the European Parliament, the flawed EU Copyright Directive has been sent back to the drawing board, ending (for now) the threats to subject all user uploads to automated content filtering, and require licensing fees for all links.
There is no mistake that it was people power that made this happen. Before the vote, MEP Catherine Stihler of Scotland noted that she had received a petition signed by a million people against the changes. Other MEPs noted the deluge of calls and letters that they had received leading up to the vote.
This outpouring of activism about what most people would have considered a dull procedural vote would not have been possible without the awareness and urgency (and, yes, super-dank memes) that members of the Reddit community raised, and we’d like to particularly congratulate r/Europe for leading the way. They hosted informative AMAs with MEP Julia Reda and Europe’s leading independent experts on copyright reform, they kept everyone up to date on vote progress and outcomes (check out their tally of the July 5th vote to see how your MEP voted), and they used megathreads to keep us all in the loop about what was happening and how to help.
This isn’t over yet. The really important thing about this vote is that it takes what would have been pushed through into law behind closed doors and opens it up to a more public debate process, where citizens have the ability to weigh in, share their views, and build a compromise that protects rightsholders without imperiling free expression.
The next vote will likely be on 10 September, and the coming weeks are critical to ensuring that the MEPs charged with hammering out amendments and drafting that compromise hear from their constituents. To keep informed about the process and learn what you can personally do during this time, be sure to check out the Save Your Internet Campaign.
People have come to Reddit for news since the site first launched back in 2005. In the decade-plus since then, you've demonstrated the power communities can have with news — analyzing articles, providing exposure to multiple perspectives, and having millions of discussions that bring context and insight to the conversation. You've shown us that news is an important part of how you use Reddit, but it's gotten harder to only get the news and related discussion, especially if you're subscribed to lots of non-news subreddits or browse r/popular and r/all. This is why we launched an alpha News tab on our iOS app a few weeks ago. After hearing feedback from mods and iOS users and making a lot of improvements to the design and function of the tab along the way, today we’re releasing it to the majority of iOS users as a beta.
The News tab offers a home for content that the community surfaces from a group of subreddits that frequently share and engage with the news. When you open the Reddit iOS app, you'll find it to the left of "Home" and "Popular." The News tab content is then divided into a handful of common news topics -- like politics, science, and sports -- with options to customize your News tab by selecting the topics or subtopics that interest you most.
We took care to build the News experience around communities that were already engaging with news the most. We have set guidelines for the communities that filter into the experience, as well as the post type (for example: posts titles must reflect the article title). We’ll continue to expand the communities you see in News in Q3. For more on our guidelines, how we’ve been testing and collecting feedback in the News tab alpha on iOS, see our initial update.
So far, we have been testing the News experience in the iOS mobile app. Later this summer, we will be releasing it to desktop. Based on your feedback, we are also working on a few additional features. You told us you wanted more granular news topics (not just Sports but Baseball specifically), so we’ve introduced subtopics for you to personalize your News tab and notifications. You all told us you want to be able to see how different communities are talking about the same story. So, we are developing a community pivot feature that will show you multiple threads from different communities on the same article.
For those of you with the iOS app, try out News and send your feedback our way by commenting below. We’ll continue to make changes as more redditors test it out. In the meantime, we’ll stick around in the comments below to answer your questions.
We care deeply about protecting the free and open internet, and we know Redditors do too. Specifically, we’ve communicated a lot with you in the past year about the Net Neutrality fight in the United States, and ways you can help. One of the most frequent questions that comes up in these conversations is from our European users, asking what they can do to play their part in the fight. Well Europe, now’s your chance. Later this month, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee will vote on changes to copyright law that would put untenable restrictions on how users share news and information with each other. The new Copyright Directive has two big problems:
The unmistakable impact of both these measures would be an incredible chilling impact over free expression and the sharing of information online, particularly for users in Europe.
Luckily, there are people and organizations in the EU that are fighting against these scary efforts, and they have organized a day of action today, June 12, to raise the alarm.
Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who opposes the measure, joined us last week for an AMA on the subject. In it, she offers a number of practical ways that Europeans who care about this issue can get involved. Most importantly, call your MEP and let them know this is important to you!
As a part of their Save the Link campaign, our friends at Open Media have created an easy tool to help you identify and call your MEP.
Here are some things you’ll want to mention on the phone with your MEP’s office:
Phone not your thing? Tweet at your MEP! Anything we can do to get the message across that internet users care about this is important. The vote is expected June 20 or 21, so there is still plenty of time to make our voices heard, but we need to raise them!
And be sure to let us know how it went! Share stories about what your MEP told you in the comments below.
PS If you’re an American and don’t want to miss out on the fun, there is still plenty to do on our side of the pond to save the free and open internet. On June 11, the net neutrality rollback officially went into effect, but the effort to reverse it in Congress is still going strong in the House of Representatives. Go here to learn more and contact your Representative.
To summarize the changes and help explain the “why now?”:
Our work won’t stop at new terms and policies. As CTO now and an infrastructure engineer in the past, I’ve been focused on ensuring our platform can scale and we are appropriately staffed to handle these gnarly issues and in particular, privacy and security. Over the last few years, we’ve built a dedicated anti-evil team to focus on creating engineering solutions to help curb spam and abuse. This year, we’re working on building out our dedicated security team to ensure we’re equipped to handle and can assess threats in all forms. We appreciate the work you all have done to responsibly report security vulnerabilities as you find them.
Note: Given that there's a lot to look over in these two updates, we've decided to push the date they take effect to June 8, 2018, so you all have two full weeks to review. And again, just to be clear, there are no actual product changes or technical changes on our end.
I know it can be difficult to stay on top of all of these Terms of Service updates (and what they mean for you), so we’ll be sticking around to answer questions in the comments. I’m not a lawyer (though I can sense their presence for the sake of this thread...) so just remember we can’t give legal advice or interpretations.
Edit: Stepping away for a bit, though I'll be checking in over the course of the day.
Are you a creature-of-the-night type of person? A straight-up vampire? Or just a redditor that wants to browse in night mode? Then you’ll be happy to hear: Night Mode has (finally) landed so you can read Reddit without searing your retinas (we heard it’s a thing).
We want to give you guys more choice in how you browse new Reddit, and Night Mode has been a top feature request in the r/redesign community, so a few months ago we set out to build it.
...Annnnd now it’s been awhile since we first announced Night Mode was coming. Turns out creating and implementing a color system to incorporate a new theme is tough. But our design and engineering teams were undaunted: dive under the hood of the Design & Engineering effort to build Night Mode on the blog.
To start browsing Reddit in darkness, click on your username in the upper right hand corner, and then toggle it on. If you're on old Reddit, you can visit http://new.reddit.com/ to try out Night Mode. If you enjoy it, you can opt for it to be your default experience by selecting Opt In under Night Mode.
We hope you’ll enjoy this retina-saving feature as much as we do. But seriously jokes aside, we are continuously trying to improve Reddit for y'all and we'll post more soon. Let us know your thoughts on Night Mode.
Next week we’ll be providing an update about accessibility in the Redesign. While you wait, check out our other recent updates
We did it, Reddit!
Today, the US Senate voted 52-47 to restore Net Neutrality! While this measure must now go through the House of Representatives and then the White House in order for the rules to be fully restored, this is still an incredibly important step in that process—one that could not have happened without all your phone calls, emails, and other activism. The evidence is clear that Net Neutrality is important to Americans of both parties (or no party at all), and today’s vote demonstrated that our Senators are hearing us.
We’ve still got a way to go, but today’s vote has provided us with some incredible momentum and energy to keep fighting.
We’re going to keep working with you all on this in the coming months, but for now, we just wanted to say thanks!
TL;DR – Call your Senators, then join us for an AMA with one.
Hey Reddit, time for another update in the Net Neutrality fight!
When we last checked in on this in February, we told you about the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality. That process took a big step forward today as the CRA petition was discharged in the Senate. That means a full Senate vote is likely soon, so let’s remind them that we’re watching!
Today, you’ll see sites across the web go on “RED ALERT” in honor of this cause. Because this is Reddit, we thought that Orangered Alert was more fitting, but the call to action is the same. Join users across the web in calling your Senators (both of ‘em!) to let them know that you support using the Congressional Review Act to save Net Neutrality. You can learn more about the effort here.
We’re also delighted to share that Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the lead sponsor of the CRA petition, will be joining us for an AMA in r/politics today at 2:30 pm ET, hot off the Senate floor, so get your questions ready!
Finally, seeing the creative ways the Reddit community gets involved in this issue is always the best part of these actions. Maybe you’re the mod of a community that has organized something in honor of the day. Or you want to share something really cool that your Senator’s office told you when you called them up. Or maybe you’ve made the dankest of net neutrality-themed memes. Let us know in the comments!
There is strength in numbers, and we’ve pulled off the impossible before through simple actions just like this. So let’s give those Senators a big, Reddit-y hug.
Each year around this time, we share Reddit’s latest transparency report and a few highlights from our Legal team’s efforts to protect user privacy. This year, our annual post happens to coincide with one of the biggest national discussions of privacy online and the integrity of the platforms we use, so I wanted to share a more in-depth update in an effort to be as transparent with you all as possible.
First, here is our 2017 Transparency Report. This details government and law-enforcement requests for private information about our users. The types of requests we receive most often are subpoenas, court orders, search warrants, and emergency requests. We require all of these requests to be legally valid, and we push back against those we don’t consider legally justified. In 2017, we received significantly more requests to produce or preserve user account information. The percentage of requests we deemed to be legally valid, however, decreased slightly for both types of requests. (You’ll find a full breakdown of these stats, as well as non-governmental requests and DMCA takedown notices, in the report. You can find our transparency reports from previous years here.)
We also participated in a number of amicus briefs, joining other tech companies in support of issues we care about. In Hassell v. Bird and Yelp v. Superior Court (Montagna), we argued for the right to defend a user's speech and anonymity if the user is sued. And this year, we've advocated for upholding the net neutrality rules (County of Santa Clara v. FCC) and defending user anonymity against unmasking prior to a lawsuit (Glassdoor v. Andra Group, LP).
I’d also like to give an update to my last post about the investigation into Russian attempts to exploit Reddit. I’ve mentioned before that we’re cooperating with Congressional inquiries. In the spirit of transparency, we’re going to share with you what we shared with them earlier today:
In my post last month, I described that we had found and removed a few hundred accounts that were of suspected Russian Internet Research Agency origin. I’d like to share with you more fully what that means. At this point in our investigation, we have found 944 suspicious accounts, few of which had a visible impact on the site:
Of the 282 accounts with non-zero karma, more than half (145) were banned prior to the start of this investigation through our routine Trust & Safety practices. All of these bans took place before the 2016 election and in fact, all but 8 of them took place back in 2015. This general pattern also held for the accounts with significant karma: of the 13 accounts with 10,000+ karma, 6 had already been banned prior to our investigation—all of them before the 2016 election. Ultimately, we have seven accounts with significant karma scores that made it past our defenses.
And as I mentioned last time, our investigation did not find any election-related advertisements of the nature found on other platforms, through either our self-serve or managed advertisements. I also want to be very clear that none of the 944 users placed any ads on Reddit. We also did not detect any effective use of these accounts to engage in vote manipulation.
To give you more insight into our findings, here is a link to all 944 accounts. We have decided to keep them visible for now, but after a period of time the accounts and their content will be removed from Reddit. We are doing this to allow moderators, investigators, and all of you to see their account histories for yourselves.
We still have a lot of room to improve, and we intend to remain vigilant. Over the past several months, our teams have evaluated our site-wide protections against fraud and abuse to see where we can make those improvements. But I am pleased to say that these investigations have shown that the efforts of our Trust & Safety and Anti-Evil teams are working. It’s also a tremendous testament to the work of our moderators and the healthy skepticism of our communities, which make Reddit a difficult platform to manipulate.
We know the success of Reddit is dependent on your trust. We hope continue to build on that by communicating openly with you about these subjects, now and in the future. Thanks for reading. I’ll stick around for a bit to answer questions.
update: I'm off for now. Thanks for the questions!
TL;DR – Today, we’ll begin welcoming a small percentage of users into version 1 of our redesigned desktop site. We still have many improvements & features to ship in the coming weeks, but we’re proud of what we’ve built so far and excited to get it in the hands of more people. And if you don’t like it, you can opt out.
Our team has been hard at work redesigning our desktop site for more than a year. The main reasons why we started this project in the first place were to allow our engineers to build features faster and to make Reddit more welcoming. It has been a massive undertaking, but we started by putting users and communities first—building our designs based on feedback from moderators, longtime users, beta testers, and other redditors every step of the way.
What’s happening today?
Today, we’re beginning to give a small group of users access to the desktop redesign at random. We’re starting with a small group to test the load on our servers and plan to make the opt-in available to everyone in the coming weeks. On behalf of the team, thank you for all of your comments, posts, bug tests, conversations with our designers, creative ideas, and other feedback over the past year. We are very proud of what we have accomplished together and we are excited for you to get your hands on it.
Without further ado, and for those who don’t have access yet… here’s what the redesign looks like:
All that said, we know that many of you love Reddit just the way it is. If you are one of the lucky few chosen to test out the redesign and prefer the existing Reddit experience, you can switch back and forth via a banner across the top or visit old.reddit.com. Furthermore, we do not have plans to do away with the current site. We want to give you more choices for how you view Reddit we are looking at you i.reddit.com.
As those of you who’ve given us redesign feedback already know, Reddit can be extremely complex. That said, we have not yet rebuilt all of our current features. We’re still iterating on your feedback and building more of the features you love -- such as native nightmode and keyboard shortcuts -- plus more new features, which will arrive in the next few weeks. In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming and share your ideas for new features in the comments! It has been extremely helpful in shaping our roadmap, and we will continue building new features and making existing ones compatible in the redesign for the foreseeable future. We’ve made r/redesign the community dedicated for feedback on the redesign, public to everyone and post weekly updates on our progress there.
We’ll be hanging out in the comments to answer questions.
The Reddit Redesign Team
As you may have heard, we’ve been hard at work redesigning our desktop for the past year. In our previous four redesign blog posts, u/Amg137 and u/hueylewisandthesnoos talked about why we're redesigning, moderation in the redesign, our approach to design, and Reddit’s evolution. Today, Reddit’s Engineering team invites you “under the hood” look at how we’re giving a long overdue update to Reddit’s core stack.
Spoiler: There’s going to be a fair bit of programming jargon in this post, but I promise we’ll get through it together.
History and Journey
For most of Reddit's history, the core engineering team supporting the site has been extremely small. Over its first five years, Reddit’s engineering team was comprised of just six employees. While there were some big engineering milestones in the early days—a complete rewrite from Lisp to Python in 2006, then another Python rewrite (aka “r2”) in 2008, when we introduced jQuery. Much of the code that Reddit is running on right now is code that u/spez wrote about ten years ago.
Given Reddit’s historically tiny eng team (at one point it was literally just u/spladug), our code wasn’t always ideal... But before I get into how we've gone about fixing that, I thought it'd be fun to ask some of the engineers who have been here longest to share a few highlights:
Luckily, Reddit's engineering team has grown a lot since those days, with most of that growth in the past two years. At our team’s current size, we're finally able to execute on a lot of the ideas you’ve given us over the years for fixes, moderation improvements (like mod mode, bulk mod actions and removal reasons), and new features (like inline images in text posts and submit validation). But even with a larger team, our ancient code base has made it extremely difficult to do this quickly and effectively.
Enter the redesign, the latest and most challenging rewrite of Reddit’s desktop code to date.
Designing Engineering Networks that Neutralize Inevitable Snags
When we set out to rewrite our code to solve these problems, we wanted to make sure we weren't just fixing small, isolated issues but creating a new, more modern frontend stack that allowed our engineering team to be nimble—with a componentized architecture and the scalability necessary to handle Reddit’s 330 million monthly users.
But above all, we wanted to use the rewrite as an opportunity to increase "developer velocity," or the amount of time it takes an engineer to ship a fix or new feature. No more "git blame" for decade-old code. Just a giant mass of tendrils, shipping faster than ever.
The New Tech Stack
These are the three main components we use in the redesign today:
Just the Beginning
With our new tech stack, we were able to ship a basic rewrite of our desktop site by September of last year. We’ve built a ton of features since then, addressing feedback we’ve gotten from a steadily growing number of users (well, a mostly steady number...). So far, we’ve shipped over 150 features, we've fixed over 1,400 bugs, and we're moving forward at a rate of ~20 features and 200+ bugs per month.
We know we still have work to do as Reddit has a very long tail of features. Fortunately, our team is already working on the majority of the most requested items (like nightmode and keyboard shortcuts), so you can expect a lot more updates from our team as more users begin to see the redesign—and because of our engineers’ work rewriting our stack over the past year, now we can ship these updates faster and more efficiently.
Over the past few weeks, we have given all moderators and beta users access to the redesign. Next week we plan to begin adding more users to make sure we can support a bigger user base on our new codebase. Users will have the option to keep the current design as their default if they wish—we do not want to force the redesign on anyone who doesn’t want to use it.
Thank you to everyone who’s helped test, reported bugs, and given feedback on the redesign so far; all of this helps a lot.
PS: We’re still hiring. :)
We want to let you know that we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain goods and services. As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services, including:
When considering a gift or transaction of goods or services not prohibited by this policy, keep in mind that Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this. Always remember: you are dealing with strangers on the internet.
EDIT: Thanks for the questions everyone. We're signing off for now but may drop back in later. We know this represents a change and we're going to do our best to help folks understand what this means. You can always feel free to send any specific questions to the admins here.
Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about our desktop redesign—why we’re doing it, moderation/styling tools we’re adding, and, most recently, how you all have shaped our designs. Today, we’re going to try something a little different. We’d like to take all of you on a field trip, to the Museum of Reddit!
When we started our work on the redesign over a year ago, we looked at pretty much every launch since 2005 to see what our team could learn from studying the way new features were rolled out in the past (on Reddit and other sites). So, before I preview another new feature our team has been working on, I want to share some highlights from the history books, for new redditors who may not realize how much the site has changed over the years and for those of you on your 12th cake day, who have seen it all.
Trippin’ Through Time
When Reddit launched back in June of 2005, it was a different time. Destiny’s Child was breaking up, Pink Floyd was getting back together, and Reddit’s front page looked like this.
In the site’s early days, u/spez and u/kn0thing played around with the design in PaintShopPro 5, did the first user tests by putting a laptop with Reddit on it in front of strangers at Starbucks, and introduced the foundation of our desktop design, with a cleaned-up look for the front page, a handful of sorting options, and our beloved alien mascot Snoo.
As Reddit grew, the admins steadily rolled out changes that brought it closer to the Reddit you recognize today. (Spoiler: Many of these changes were not received well at the time...)
They launched commenting. (The first comment, fittingly, was about how comments are going to ruin Reddit.) They recoded the entire site from Lisp to Python. They added limits on the lengths of post titles. And in 2008, they rolled out a beta for Reddit’s biggest change to date: user-created subreddits.
It’s hard to imagine Reddit without subreddits now, but as a new feature, it wasn’t without controversy. In fact, many users felt that Reddit should be organized by tags, not communities, and argued passionately against subreddits. (Fun fact: That same year, the admins also launched our first desktop redesign, which received its share of good, bad, and constructive reviews.)
During those early years, Reddit had an extremely small staff that spent most of their time scaling the site to keep up with our growing user base instead of launching a lot of new features. But they did start taking some of the best ideas from the community and bringing them in-house, moving Reddit Gifts from a user-run project to an official part of Reddit and turning a cumbersome URL trick people used to make multireddits into a supported feature.
That approach of looking to the community first has shaped the features we’ve built in the years since then, like image hosting (my first project as an admin), video hosting, mobile apps, mobile mod tools, flair, live threads, spoiler tags, and crossposting, to name a few.
What Did We Learn? Did We Learn Things? Let's Find Out!
Throughout all of these launches, two themes have stood out time and time again:
With the desktop redesign, we built structured styles so that anyone can give their subreddit a unique look and feel without learning to code. We revamped mod tools, taking inspiration from popular third-party tools and CSS hacks, so mods can do things like set post requirements and take bulk actions more easily. And we engineered an entirely new tech stack to allow our teams to adapt faster in response to your feedback (more on that in our next blog post about engineering!).
Previewing... Inline Images in Text Posts
One feature we recently rolled out in the redesign is our Rich Text Editor, which allows you to format your posts without markdown and, for the first time, include inline images within text posts!
Like anything we’ve built in the past, we expect our desktop redesign to evolve a lot as we bring more users in to test it, but we’re excited to see all of the creative ways you use it along the way.
In the meantime, all mods now have access to the redesign, with invites for more users coming soon. (Thank you to everyone who’s given feedback so far!) If you receive an invite in your inbox, please take a moment to play around with the redesign and let us know what you think. And if you’d like to be part of our next group of testers, subscribe to r/beta!
In the past couple of weeks, Reddit has been mentioned as one of the platforms used to promote Russian propaganda. As it’s an ongoing investigation, we have been relatively quiet on the topic publicly, which I know can be frustrating. While transparency is important, we also want to be careful to not tip our hand too much while we are investigating. We take the integrity of Reddit extremely seriously, both as the stewards of the site and as Americans.
Given the recent news, we’d like to share some of what we’ve learned:
When it comes to Russian influence on Reddit, there are three broad areas to discuss: ads, direct propaganda from Russians, indirect propaganda promoted by our users.
On the first topic, ads, there is not much to share. We don’t see a lot of ads from Russia, either before or after the 2016 election, and what we do see are mostly ads promoting spam and ICOs. Presently, ads from Russia are blocked entirely, and all ads on Reddit are reviewed by humans. Moreover, our ad policies prohibit content that depicts intolerant or overly contentious political or cultural views.
As for direct propaganda, that is, content from accounts we suspect are of Russian origin or content linking directly to known propaganda domains, we are doing our best to identify and remove it. We have found and removed a few hundred accounts, and of course, every account we find expands our search a little more. The vast majority of suspicious accounts we have found in the past months were banned back in 2015–2016 through our enhanced efforts to prevent abuse of the site generally.
The final case, indirect propaganda, is the most complex. For example, the Twitter account @TEN_GOP is now known to be a Russian agent. @TEN_GOP’s Tweets were amplified by thousands of Reddit users, and sadly, from everything we can tell, these users are mostly American, and appear to be unwittingly promoting Russian propaganda. I believe the biggest risk we face as Americans is our own ability to discern reality from nonsense, and this is a burden we all bear.
I wish there was a solution as simple as banning all propaganda, but it’s not that easy. Between truth and fiction are a thousand shades of grey. It’s up to all of us—Redditors, citizens, journalists—to work through these issues. It’s somewhat ironic, but I actually believe what we’re going through right now will actually reinvigorate Americans to be more vigilant, hold ourselves to higher standards of discourse, and fight back against propaganda, whether foreign or not.
Thank you for reading. While I know it’s frustrating that we don’t share everything we know publicly, I want to reiterate that we take these matters very seriously, and we are cooperating with congressional inquiries. We are growing more sophisticated by the day, and we remain open to suggestions and feedback for how we can improve.
In our previous two blog posts, u/Amg137 talked about why we’re redesigning Reddit on desktop and how moderation and community styling will work in it. Today, I’m here as a hu
man sacrifice member of Reddit’s Design team (surprise: designers actually work at Reddit!) to talk about how we’ve approached the desktop redesign and what we’ve learned from your feedback along the way.
When approaching the redesign, we all learned early on that this wasn’t just about making Reddit more usable, accessible, and efficient; it was also about learning how to interact, adapt, and communicate with the world’s largest, most passionate and genuine community of users.
Every team working on this project has its share of longtime redditors—whether it's Product, Design, Engineering, or Community. To say that this has been the most challenging (and rewarding) project of our careers is an understatement. Over the past year we’ve been running surveys internally and externally. We’ve conducted video conferences with first-time users, redditors on their 10th Cake Day, moderators, and lurkers. Not to mention an extremely helpful community of alpha testers. You all have shaped the way we do every part of our jobs, from brainstorming and creating designs to building features and collecting feedback.
Just when we thought we had the optimal approach to a new feature or legacy functionality, you came in and told us where we were wrong and, in most cases, explained to us with passion and clarity why a given feature was important to you—like making Classic and Compact views fill your screen (coming soon).
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Reddit is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It’s a site based on choice and evolution. There are millions of you, spread across different devices, joining Reddit at different times, using the site in widely varying ways, and we're trying to build in a way that supports all of you. So, as we figured out the best way to do that, these are the themes that guided us along the way:
As we moved from setting high-level goals to getting into the actual design work, we knew it would be a long process even with the learnings we gained from the initial look-see. We know that our first attempt is never the best, and the only way we can improve is by talking directly with all of you. It’s hard to summarize everything we built as a result of these conversations, but here are a few examples:
The list of user-inspired changes goes on and on (and we’re expecting a lot more iteration as we expand our testing pool), but this is how we’ve worked through design challenges so far.
The redesign isn’t finished at “GA” (General Availability, or as I like to call it, “Time to Breathe for One Day Before We Get Back to Work”). With this post, we wanted to share some context on our approach, thank everyone who's participated in r/redesign so far (THANK YOU!), and let you know we will continue to engage with you on a daily basis to understand how you’re responding to what we’re building.
Over the next several weeks, we'll be expanding the number of users who have access to the alpha (yes, you will be able to opt out if you prefer the current desktop look), hearing what you think, and updating all of you as we make more changes. In the meantime, I'll be sticking around in the comments for a bit to answer questions and invite all of you to listen to Huey Lewis with me.
EDIT: Thank you for all your comments, feedback, and suggestions so far. I gotta get back to the whole working-on-the-redesign thing, but I’ll be jumping back into the comments when I can over the rest of the day.
It’s been a couple months since the FCC voted to repeal federal net neutrality regulations. We were all disappointed in the decision, but we told you we’d continue the fight, and we wanted to share an update on what you can do to help.
The debate has now moved to Congress, which is good news. Unlike the FCC, which is unelected and less immediately accountable to voters, members of Congress depend on input from their constituents to help inform their positions—especially during an election year like this one.
“But wait,” you say. “I already called my Congressperson last year, and we’re still in this mess! What’s different now?” Three words: Congressional Review Act.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is basically Congress’s downvote. It lets them undo the FCC’s order through a “resolution of disapproval.” This can be formally introduced in both the Senate and the House within 60 legislative days after the FCC’s order is officially published in the Federal Register, which happened last week. It needs a simple majority in both houses to pass. Our friends at Public Knowledge have made a video explaining the process.
Now that the FCC order has been published in the Federal Register, the clock for the CRA is ticking. Members of both the House and Senate who care about Net Neutrality have already been securing the votes they need to pass the resolution of disapproval. In fact, the Senate version is only #onemorevote away from the 51 it needs to pass!
Today, we’re calling on you to phone your members of Congress and tell them what you think! You can see exactly where members stand on this issue so far on this scoreboard. If they’re already on board with the CRA, great! Thank them for their efforts and tell them you appreciate it. Positive feedback for good work is important.
If they still need convincing, here is a script to help guide your conversation:
“My name is ________ and I live in ______. I’m calling today to share my support for strong net neutrality rules. I’d like to ask Senator/Representative_______ to use the CRA to pass a resolution of disapproval overturning the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.”
-Be polite. That thing your grandma said about the flies and the honey and the vinegar is right. Remember, the people who disagree with us are the ones we need to convince.
-Only call the Senators and Representatives who actually represent YOU. Calls are most effective when they come from actual constituents. If you’re not sure who represents you or how to get in touch with them, you can look it up here.
-If this issue affects you personally because of who you are or what you do, let them know! Local business owner who uses the web to reach customers? Caregiver who uses telemedicine to consult patients? Parent whose child needs the internet for school assignments? Share that. The more we can put a human face on this, the better.
-Don’t give up. The nature of our democratic system means that things can be roundabout, messy, and take a long time to accomplish. Perseverance is key. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Two weeks ago, we kicked off our blog series to take you behind the scenes of the redesign. As I mentioned last week, we wanted to put communities first from the beginning of our redesign efforts, so today we're going to get into some of the specifics of what that actually looks like.
Fun fact: When Reddit first launched, user-created subreddits weren't even an option. In the years since the very first ones were created, our communities have shown us thousands of creative ways to use Reddit. The most important things we wanted to bring to the core Reddit experience were the creative styling and moderation tricks and tools that you all have pioneered over the years.
Without further ado, here are some of the community features we've been working to support natively in the redesign.
Giving community members a sense of identity through unique flair is critical for many subreddits. Today, many subreddits use image flair to bring out this sense of community, like r/baseball's team logo flair and r/WoW's faction icons. To make this process simpler, we’re introducing subreddit emojis. Now, every subreddit can upload emojis in the redesign, which community members can use in their post and user flair.
Moderators work hard to maintain the quality of their community. With the new Post Requirements, moderators can specify certain guidelines that a post has to abide by, such as requiring flair or title length restrictions. Users will be notified prior to submitting their posts so they aren’t confused by the rules when posting in a new community, they have the opportunity to fix their errors, and so moderators can spend less time addressing posts that don't meet these guidelines.
Many subreddits use post flair to allow users to sort through different types of content in their communities. r/personalfinance uses flair filtering to help users search posts on specific topics like retirement and budgeting, r/OutOfTheLoop uses flair to filter answered and unanswered questions, and other communities have put their own unique twists on this idea. Despite the usefulness of these filters, they can be very difficult to set up through CSS. Going forward, we’ll support filtering posts by flair as a native feature in the redesign.
Many mod teams use the sidebar to share information and resources with their community members, from the network of wholesome subreddits listed in the sidebar of r/WholesomeMemes to r/IAmA's schedule of upcoming AMAs. Unfortunately, for most redditors, maximizing this sidebar space in creative ways isn't very easy or intuitive. As we thought about how we wanted styling to work in the redesign, we looked at some of the most common sidebar hacks that communities have already been doing for years and worked to support those natively through widgets. Right now, styling in the redesign includes text widgets, button widgets, image widgets, a calendar widget, a related communities widget, and a rules widget. But we’re not stopping there! We're going to continue to add more advanced options in the coming months.
Communities themselves aren’t the only ones that have inspired us; we also had the help of some great developers that build 3rd-party tools such as Toolbox and Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES).
Toolbox: Bulk Mod Actions
Moderating subreddits with a high volume of activity can be difficult, and next to impossible without the help of third-party tools. To make things easier, we've been working to improve our native mod tools, both in our apps and in the redesign. Instead of taking one action at a time, you can now moderate multiple posts or comments at once. You’ll also be able to switch between different community mod queues with ease.
RES has enhanced Reddit’s expandos (i.e., embedded media like images, videos, and gifs) for years, and one of the most popular features has been “show all images” (i.e., expand all the things!). The redesign has embraced this feature with Card View, a browsing option that allows you to easily view each post’s images, videos, and text with no more effort than scrolling down the page.
When cruising through posts and comments, redditors are only their usernames and the content they’ve posted. RES has provided a little more context by allowing you to see that user’s stats (like account age and karma score) and interact with them in context. Reddit has picked up that same idea and added even more content like avatar and bio—plus actions for moderators such as banning or muting without having to visit another page.
Toolbox: Removal Reasons
Over the years, Toolbox has built some amazing features that have simplified moderation. As a Toolbox-inspired effort to improve our own mod tools, we’re pleased to support removal reasons as a native feature in the redesign. (Note for existing Toolbox users: Throughout our redesign process, we also worked with the toolbox team to make sure they have everything they need to make sure Toolbox features work in the redesign.)
Today it can require a lot of expertise to style a community. Custom CSS is complicated, breaks in different places, and doesn’t work on mobile. With more of our users shifting to mobile each year and many communities remaining unstyled because CSS is too complicated, we wanted to build a system that would give moderators a high level of customization without requiring CSS. (But don't worry: As we said before, we will also give you the option to use CSS enhancements in the redesign. This is still in development.)
With these new features, we're excited to say that styling a community is much easier. Some mod teams have already shown how creative you can get with structured styles, like r/AskReddit, r/CasualConversation, r/Greenday, r/ITookAPicture, and r/NASCAR. We're looking forward to seeing more of you test out the new styling.
Join the Redesign!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out invitations widely for more moderators to start exploring these tools, styling their communities, and providing feedback for us to iterate on. Moderators, we know you need some time to get your communities styled before we let more users into the redesign, so keep an eye out for more updates soon in r/modnews.
We want to let you know that we have made some updates to our site-wide rules against involuntary pornography and sexual or suggestive content involving minors. These policies were previously combined in a single rule; they will now be broken out into two distinct ones.
As we have said in past communications with you all, we want to make Reddit a more welcoming environment for all users. We will continue to review and update our policies as necessary.
We’ll hang around in the comments to answer any questions you might have about the updated rules.
Edit: Thanks for your questions! Signing off now.
Now that it’s far enough into the year that we’re all writing the date correctly, I thought I’d give a quick recap of 2017 and share some of what we’re working on in 2018.
In 2017, we doubled the size of our staff, and as a result, we accomplished more than ever:
We recently gave our iOS and Android apps major updates that, in addition to many of your most-requested features, also includes a new suite of mod tools. If you haven’t tried the app in a while, please check it out!
We added a ton of new features to Reddit, from spoiler tags and post-to-profile to chat (now in beta for individuals and groups), and we’re especially pleased to see features that didn’t exist a year ago like crossposts and native video on our front pages every day.
Not every launch has gone swimmingly, and while we may not respond to everything directly, we do see and read all of your feedback. We rarely get things right the first time (profile pages, anybody?), but we’re still working on these features and we’ll do our best to continue improving Reddit for everybody. If you’d like to participate and follow along with every change, subscribe to r/announcements (major announcements), r/beta (long-running tests), r/modnews (moderator features), and r/changelog (most everything else).
I’m particularly proud of how far our Community, Trust & Safety, and Anti-Evil teams have come. We’ve steadily shifted the balance of our work from reactive to proactive, which means that much more often we’re catching issues before they become issues. I’d like to highlight one stat in particular: at the beginning of 2017 our T&S work was almost entirely driven by user reports. Today, more than half of the users and content we action are caught by us proactively using more sophisticated modeling. Often we catch policy violations before being reported or even seen by users or mods.
The greater Reddit community does something incredible every day. In fact, one of the lessons I’ve learned from Reddit is that when people are in the right context, they are more creative, collaborative, supportive, and funnier than we sometimes give ourselves credit for (I’m serious!). A couple great examples from last year include that time you all created an artistic masterpiece and that other time you all organized site-wide grassroots campaigns for net neutrality. Well done, everybody.
In 2018, we’ll continue our efforts to make Reddit welcoming. Our biggest project continues to be the web redesign. We know you have a lot of questions, so our teams will be doing a series of blog posts and AMAs all about the redesign, starting soon-ish in r/blog.
It’s still in alpha with a few thousand users testing it every day, but we’re excited about the progress we’ve made and looking forward to expanding our testing group to more users. (Thanks to all of you who have offered your feedback so far!) If you’d like to join in the fun, we pull testers from r/beta. We’ll be dramatically increasing the number of testers soon.
We’re super excited about 2018. The staff and I will hang around to answer questions for a bit.
Happy New Year,
Steve and the Reddit team
update: I'm off for now. As always, thanks for the feedback and questions.
You asked for it, and we’re delivering! Today, all Reddit users have the option to enable two-factor authentication for an additional layer of account security.
We have been slowly rolling this feature out, starting with beta testers, moderators, and third-party app developers, to ensure a positive experience across devices. Your feedback has been incredibly valuable, from pointing out bugs to recommending features. Thank you to everyone involved in testing.
Two-factor adds more security to your Reddit account by requiring a second step to sign in. In this case, if you opt into 2FA, you’ll access a 6-digit verification code generated by your phone after a new sign-in attempt.
With two-factor enabled, even if someone else obtained your Reddit username and password, they still could not log in as you.
You can enable two-factor by selecting the password/email tab under your preferences on desktop. Select enable under two-factor authentication and follow the steps given to you. And make sure to generate your backup codes in the event your phone is unavailable! You can find more help in our Help Center.
Two-factor is supported across desktop, mobile, and third-party apps. It requires an authenticator app (Google Authenticator, Authy, or any app supporting the TOTP protocol) to generate your 6-digit verification code.
A few handy security reminders:
When we first launched our native mobile apps in April 2016, we started with a pretty basic set of features that would give you a portable way to discuss and browse the things you love on Reddit. Since that time, we’ve made a lot of improvements and added in features to let you do more.
This week, we released major updates to both our native apps: version 4.0 on iPhone and iPad, and version 2.22 on Android.
These are the biggest updates we’ve made to the apps since launch — they’re packed with some brand new features including mod tools that we’re stoked for you to try.
We hope you enjoy these updates. Happy holidays!
Following today’s disappointing vote from the FCC, Alexis and I wanted to take the time to thank redditors for your incredible activism on this issue, and reassure you that we’re going to continue fighting for the free and open internet.
Over the past few months, we have been floored by the energy and creativity redditors have displayed in the effort to save net neutrality. It was inspiring to witness organic takeovers of the front page (twice), read touching stories about how net neutrality matters in users’ everyday lives, see bills about net neutrality discussed on the front page (with over 100,000 upvotes and cross-posts to over 100 communities), and watch redditors exercise their voices as citizens in the hundreds of thousands of calls they drove to Congress.
It is disappointing that the FCC Chairman plowed ahead with his planned repeal despite all of this public concern, not to mention the objections expressed by his fellow commissioners, the FCC’s own CTO, more than a hundred members of Congress, dozens of senators, and the very builders of the modern internet.
Nevertheless, today’s vote is the beginning, not the end. While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over.
Many of you have asked what comes next. We don’t exactly know yet, but it seems likely that the FCC’s decision will be challenged in court soon, and we would be supportive of that challenge. It’s also possible that Congress can decide to take up the cause and create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that aren’t subject to the political winds at the FCC. Nevertheless, this will be a complex process that takes time.
What is certain is that Reddit will continue to be involved in this issue in the way that we know best: seeking out every opportunity to amplify your voices and share them with those who have the power to make a difference.
This isn’t the outcome we wanted, but you should all be proud of the awareness you’ve created. Those who thought that they’d be able to quietly repeal net neutrality without anyone noticing or caring learned a thing or two, and we still may come out on top of this yet. We’ll keep you informed as things develop.
u/arabscarab (Jessica, our head of policy) will also be in the comments to address your questions.
—u/spez & u/kn0thing
update: Please note the FCC is not united in this decision and find the dissenting statements from commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel.
update2 (9:55AM pst): While the vote has not technically happened, we decided to post after the two dissenting commissioners released their statements. However, the actual vote appears to be delayed for security reasons. We hope everyone is safe.
update3 (10:13AM pst): The FCC votes to repeal 3–2.
It’s been a few months since I last did one of these, so I thought I’d check in and share a few updates.
It’s been a busy few months here at HQ. On the product side, we launched Reddit-hosted video and gifs; crossposting is in beta; and Reddit’s web redesign is in alpha testing with a limited number of users, which we’ll be expanding to an opt-in beta later this month. We’ve got a long way to go, but the feedback we’ve received so far has been super helpful (thank you!). If you’d like to participate in this sort of testing, head over to r/beta and subscribe.
Additionally, we’ll be slowly migrating folks over to the new profile pages over the next few months, and two-factor authentication rollout should be fully released in a few weeks. We’ve made many other changes as well, and if you’re interested in following along with all these updates, you can subscribe to r/changelog.
In real life, we finished our moderator thank you tour where we met with hundreds of moderators all over the US. It was great getting to know many of you, and we received a ton of good feedback and product ideas that will be working their way into production soon. The next major release of the native apps should make moderators happy (but you never know how these things will go…).
Last week we expanded our content policy to clarify our stance around violent content. The previous policy forbade “inciting violence,” but we found it lacking, so we expanded the policy to cover any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against people or animals. We don’t take changes to our policies lightly, but we felt this one was necessary to continue to make Reddit a place where people feel welcome.
Annnnnnd in other news:
In case you didn’t catch our post the other week, we’re running our first ever software development internship program next year. If fetching coffee is your cup of tea, check it out!
This weekend is Extra Life, a charity gaming marathon benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and we have a team. Join our team, play games with the Reddit staff, and help us hit our $250k fundraising goal.
Finally, today we’re kicking off our ninth annual Secret Santa exchange on Reddit Gifts! This is one of the longest-running traditions on the site, connecting over 100,000 redditors from all around the world through the simple act of giving and receiving gifts. We just opened this year's exchange a few hours ago, so please join us in spreading a little holiday cheer by signing up today.
Speaking of the holidays, I’m no longer allowed to use a computer over the Thanksgiving holiday, so I’d love some ideas to keep me busy.
update: I'm taking off for now. Thanks for the questions and feedback. I'll check in over the next couple of days if more bubbles up. Cheers!
We’ve got some updates to share about Reddit the platform, community, and business:
First off, thank you to all of you who participated in the Net Neutrality Day of Action earlier this month! We believe a free and open Internet is the most important advancement of our lifetime, and its preservation is paramount. Even if the FCC chooses to disregard public opinion and rolls back existing Net Neutrality regulations, the fight for Internet freedom is far from over, and Reddit will be there. Alexis and I just returned from Washington, D.C. where we met with members and senators on both sides of the aisle and shared your stories and passion about this issue. Thank you again for making your voice heard.
We’re happy to report Reddit IRL is alive and well: while in D.C., we hosted one of a series of meetups around the country to connect with moderators in person, and back in June, Redditors gathered for Global Reddit Meetup Day across 120 cities worldwide. We have a few more meetups planned this year, and so far it’s been great fun to connect with everyone face to face.
Reddit has closed another round of funding. This is an important milestone for the company, and while Reddit the business continues to grow and is healthier than ever, the additional capital provides even more resources to build a Reddit that is accessible, welcoming, broad, and available to everyone on the planet. I want to emphasize our values and goals are not changing, and our investors continue to support our mission.
On the product side, we have a lot going on. It’s incredible how much we’re building, and we’re excited to show you over the coming months. Our video beta continues to expand. A few hundred communities have access, and have been critical to working out bugs and polishing the system. We’re creating more geo-specific views of Reddit, and the web redesign (codename: Reddit4) is well underway. I can’t wait for you all to see what we’re working on. The redesign is a massive effort and will take months to deploy. We'll have an alpha end of August, a public beta in October, and we'll see where the feedback takes us from there.
Our Community, Trust & Safety, and Anti-Evil teams are hitting their stride. For the first time ever, the majority of our enforcement actions last quarter were proactive instead of reactive. This means we’re catching abuse earlier, and as a result we saw over 1M fewer moderator reports despite traffic increasing over the same period (speaking of which, we updated community traffic numbers to be more accurate).
While there is plenty more to report, I’ll stop here. If you have any questions about the above or anything else, I’ll be here a couple hours.
u: I've got to run for now. Thanks for the questions! I'll be back later this evening to answer some more.
TL;DR People creating new accounts won't be subscribed to 50 default subreddits, and we're adding subscribe buttons to Popular.
Many years ago, we realized that it was difficult for new redditors to discover the rich content that existed on the site. At the time, our best option was to select a set of communities to feature for all new users, which we called (creatively), “the defaults”.
Over the past few years we have seen a wealth of diverse and healthy communities grow across Reddit. The default communities have done a great job as the first face of Reddit, but at our size, we can showcase many more amazing communities and conversations. We recently launched r/popular as a start to improving the community discovery experience, with extremely positive results.
New users will land on “Home” and will be presented with a quick tutorial page on how to subscribe to communities.
On “Popular,” we’ve made subscribing easier by adding in-line subscription buttons that show up next to communities you’re not subscribed to.
To the communities formerly known as defaults - thank you. You were, and will continue to be, awesome. To our new users - we’re excited to show you the breadth and depth our communities!
Welcome to Reddit Announcements, a place for official posts from team Reddit. Subscribe to this community to learn about all of the latest things coming soon from Reddit!