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Reddit Inc.
Reddit Logo
Type Private
Founded June 23, 2005 (2005-06-23)[1]
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Steve Huffman
Alexis Ohanian
Key people Steve Huffman (CEO)
Employees 71[2]
Slogan(s) "The front page of the internet"
Website .com.redditwww
Written in [3]
Alexa rank 31 (October 2015)[4]
Type of site Social news
Advertising Banner ads, promoted links
Registration Optional (required to submit, comment, or vote)
Available in Multilingual, primarily English
Current status Active

Reddit ()[5] is an

Reddit was founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. Condé Nast Publications acquired the site in October 2006. Reddit became a direct subsidiary of Condé Nast's parent company, Advance Publications, in September 2011. As of August 2012, Reddit operates as an independent entity, although Advance is still its largest shareholder.[6] Reddit is based in San Francisco, California. In October 2014 Reddit raised $50 million in a funding round led by Sam Altman and including investors Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto.[7] Their investment saw the company valued at $500 million.[8][9]


  • Overview 1
    • Site 1.1
    • Users 1.2
  • Subreddits 2
    • IAmA and AMA 2.1
    • The Button 2.2
  • History 3
  • Technology 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Community and culture 6
    • Philanthropic efforts 6.1
    • Commercial activity 6.2
    • Reddit effect 6.3
    • "Restoring Truthiness" campaign 6.4
    • Controversies involving Reddit 6.5
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9



The site is a collection of entries submitted by its registered users, essentially a bulletin board system. The name "Reddit" is a play-on-words with the phrase "read it", i.e., "I read it on Reddit."[10] The site's content is divided into numerous categories, and 50 such categories, or "default subreddits", are visible on the front page to new users and those who browse the site without logging in to an account. As of May 2014, these include:[11][12]

Category Subreddits
Educational News, Science, Space, TodayILearned (TIL) and WorldNews
Entertainment Creepy, Documentaries, Gaming, ListenToThis, Movies, Music, NoSleep, Sports, Television and Videos
Discussion-based AskReddit, AskScience, Books, ExplainLikeImFive, History, IAmA and TwoXChromosomes
Humor/light-hearted DataIsBeautiful, Funny, InternetIsBeautiful, Jokes, NotTheOnion, ShowerThoughts, TIFU and UpliftingNews
Image sharing Art, Aww, EarthPorn, Gifs, MildlyInteresting, OldSchoolCool, PhotoshopBattles and Pics
Self-improvement DIY, Fitness, Food, GetMotivated, LifeProTips, PersonalFinance, Philosophy and WritingPrompts
Technology Futurology and Gadgets
Meta Announcements and Blog

When items (links or text posts) are submitted to a subreddit, users (redditors) can vote for or against them (upvote/downvote). Each subreddit has a front page that shows newer submissions that have been rated highly. Redditors can also post comments about the submission, and respond back and forth in a conversation-tree of comments; the comments themselves can also be upvoted and downvoted. The front page of the site itself shows a combination of the highest-rated posts out of all the subreddits a user is subscribed to.

Front-page rank – for both the general front page and for individual subreddits – is determined by the age of the submission, positive ("upvoted") to negative ("downvoted") feedback ratio and the total vote-count.[13] Dozens of submissions cycle through these front pages daily.


Registering an account with Reddit is free and does not require an email address to complete. Users are referred to as "redditors". When logged in, users have the ability to vote on submissions and comments to increase or decrease their visibility and submit links and comments. Users can also create their own subreddit on a topic of their choosing, and interested users can add it to their frontpage by subscribing to it. For example, as of May 2015, the WorldHeritage subreddit – subtitled "the most interesting pages on WorldHeritage" – has over 151,000 subscribers.[14] Reddit comments and submissions are occasionally abbreviated and peppered with terms that are understood within (and in many cases also outside) the Reddit community, ranging from OP (for "original poster" – the user who posted the submission being commented upon) to NSFW (for "not safe for work" - indicating the post has graphic or sexually explicit content).[15] Users earn "link karma" and "comment karma" for submitting popular links and comments, which accumulate as point values on their user profile. Users may also be gifted "Reddit gold" if another user has well received the comment or post, generally due to humorous or high quality content. This is also known as gilding. Reddit has also created a system of points called "creddits". Reddit gold "creddits" are like gift certificates: each creddit you have allows you to give one month of Reddit gold to someone else. The points do not lead to a prize as they are meant to stand in as a badge of honor for the user among their peers, although redditors have attempted to redeem their points before.[16]

Reddit also allows submissions that do not link externally. These are called "self posts" or "text submissions". Many discussion-based subreddits allow only text-only submissions such as "AskReddit" – where users are only allowed to pose broad, discussion based questions to the community at large. Self posts do not accumulate karma points for the submitter, but they can still be voted on like other content.

Mister Splashy Pants logo used on November 27, 2007

Reddit communities occasionally coordinate Reddit-external projects such as skewing polls on other websites, such as in 2007 when Greenpeace allowed web users to decide the name of a killer whale it was tracking. Reddit users voted en masse to name the whale "Mr. Splashy Pants", and Reddit administrators further encouraged this by changing the site logo to a whale during the voting. In December of that year, Mister Splashy Pants was announced as the winner of the competition.[17]

Within the site, redditors commemorate their "cake day" once a year, which is the anniversary of the day the user's account was first created. The "cake day" offers no special benefit, except that a small icon representing a slice of cake appears next to that user's name for 24 hours.[18]

Redditors can "friend" one another, which gives a redditor quick access to posting and comments of their friend list. The commenting system and friend system, along with a certain "Reddit ethos" (called reddiquette on Reddit), lend Reddit aspects of a social networking service, though not to the extent of Facebook, Google+, and other websites aimed at providing social networking services.

The Reddit community also socializes at local parks and bars around the world,[19] and many localized subreddits for local meetings exist.


Reddit entries are organized into areas of interest called "subreddits". Historically, the front page was the main subreddit, and other areas were "subreddits". There is now no main subreddit. Instead, there are multiple default subreddits dealing with topics such as books, television, and music. Any registered user may create a subreddit, although a link to do so does not appear on the user's homepage until after thirty days.[20] There are over 5,400 active subreddits to peruse,[21][22] with a default set of 50 subreddits as of May 2014.

Users may customize what is shown on their personal front page by subscribing to individual subreddits through a page that shows all subreddits available. The site's general front page is also accessible via a link to "all" at the top of the individual user's customized front page.

In an interview with Memeburn, Reddit GM, Martin noted that the platform's "approach is to give the community moderators or curators as much control as possible so that they can shape and cultivate the type of communities they want".[23]

IAmA and AMA

One of the most popular subreddits is IAmA ("I Am A") where a user may post "AMAs" (for "Ask Me Anything"), or similarly "AMAAs" (for "Ask Me Almost/Absolutely Anything") – prompts for others to ask questions about any topic. AMAs are open to all Reddit users, and use the site's comment system for both questions and answers; it is similar to a press conference, but online. This subreddit was founded in May 2009.[24] From 2013 to 2015, Victoria Taylor assisted reddit's volunteer community in presenting interviews.[25][26][27]

A number of notable individuals have participated in the IAmA subreddit, including United States President Barack Obama[28][29] (while campaigning for the 2012 election), Dave Grohl,[30] Madonna,[31] Chris Hadfield[32] (who answered questions from the International Space Station), Bill Gates,[33] Ron Paul,[34] Stephen Colbert,[35] Psy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Maddow, Renée Fleming, M. Shadows, Louis C.K., Roger Federer, Larry King, Philip Zimbardo, Bill Nye,[36] Stan Lee, John Mather, David Copperfield, Paul Krugman, Danny Boyle, rapper J. Cole,[37] Al Gore, Roger Ebert, Michael Bolton, Gary Johnson, Lawrence Krauss, Jill Stein, Kevin Rudd, Julie Benz,[38] Amanda Palmer,[39] Tim Ferriss,[40] Gordon Ramsay,[41] Peter Dinklage,[42] and Neil deGrasse Tyson.[43] As of April 2015, Barack Obama's AMA is the highest rated on the site;[44] the increased traffic brought down many parts of the website when the AMA occurred on August 29, 2012.[45]

Celebrities participating in IAmAs have seen both positive and negative responses. Woody Harrelson's[46] AMA was criticized after Harrelson declined to answer questions that were unrelated to the movie Rampart he was promoting.[47] In contrast, rapper Snoop Dogg attracted 1.6 million page views[48] after conducting an AMA that provided several candid responses to the community's questions.[49]

Other than Woody Harrelson, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra's[50] AMA was criticized for evasiveness when she focused on promoting her upcoming album to the detriment of other questions. A particularly well received AMA of 2014 was that of Peter Dinklage,[51] best known for his role as Tyrion Lannister in the HBO drama series Game of Thrones. Redditors attribute the thread's success to the thoroughness of his responses and the fact that he stayed online much longer than he was expected to so he could spend more time with his fans. The actor departed by commenting

This feels like being interviewed by a hundred thousand news anchors at once! But much friendlier anchors...who seem to know their material...I really appreciate everyone's enthusiasm and questions. I tried to move another engagement to make more time but it's really hard during shoots. I am going to try to answer a few more short ones now. And remember: If you see me on the street and want a photo, ask! It's just weird when your kid asks for directions.[52]

On July 2, 2015, hundreds of subreddits, including several with over a million subscribers, were set to private by their respective moderators after Reddit's director of talent, Victoria Taylor, was dismissed.[53][54][55][56][57][58] Sources close to Reddit cited an increased focus on commercializing AMAs as the most likely reason.[59][60]

The Button

On April 1, 2015, a subreddit called "thebutton", a social experiment was created for April Fools' Day. It featured a button and a 60-second countdown timer prominently above the submissions section. When any user clicked the button the timer would globally reset back to 60 seconds,[61] and the user's "flair" (an icon next to the user's name) would change color based on the time remaining when the button was clicked. Flair colors were granted based on the spectrum gradient from purple to red with purple signifying up to 60 seconds and red as low as 0 seconds. The survival of the timer was limited because users could only click it once and only user accounts created before April 1 were eligible to participate.

The countdown prematurely reached zero several times due to technically issues but eventually expired in absence of any issues on June 5, 2015 after which the subreddit was closed.[62]


Co-founder Alexis Ohanian speaking in 2009.

In June 2005,[63] Reddit was founded in Medford, Massachusetts by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, both 22-year-old graduates of the University of Virginia.[64] The team expanded to include Christopher Slowe in November 2005. Between November 2005 and January 2006 Reddit merged with Aaron Swartz's company Infogami, and Swartz became an equal owner of the resulting parent company, Not A Bug.[65][66] Condé Nast Publications, owner of Wired, acquired Reddit on October 31, 2006, and the team moved to San Francisco.[67] In January 2007, Swartz was fired.[68]

By the end of 2008, the team had grown to include Erik Martin, Jeremy Edberg,[69] David King,[70] and Mike Schiraldi.[71] In 2009, Huffman and Ohanian moved on to form Hipmunk, recruiting Slowe[72] and King[73] shortly thereafter. In May 2010, Reddit was named in Lead411's "2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies" list.[74] In July 2010, after explosive traffic growth, Reddit introduced Reddit Gold, offering new features for a price of $3.99/month or $29.99/year.[75] Reddit Gold adds a number of features to the interface, including the ability to display more comments on a page, access to the private subreddit /r/lounge, and notifications whenever one's username is mentioned in a comment. It's also possible to endow comments or submissions of other users and thereby give a gold membership to them as an anonymous present.[76]

On September 6, 2011, Reddit became operationally independent of Condé Nast, now operating as a separate subsidiary of its parent company, Advance Publications.[77] On January 11, 2012, Reddit announced that it would be participating in a 12-hour sitewide blackout in protest of the

  • Official website

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  157. ^ "Critics blast Reddit over climate-change skeptic ban". Fox News. 19 Dec 2013. Reddit's director of communications told that while it was Allen’s prerogative to ban climate-change skeptics from "/r/science", his statements “do not reflect the views of Reddit as a whole, or other science or climate-oriented subreddits. Each subreddit community is entitled to its own views, and anyone who wants to start their own subreddit is welcome to do so devoted to their views, opinions or interests” 
  158. ^ Sam Kirkland (25 Nov 2014). "How to get your news site banned from Reddit".  
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  161. ^ Yishan Wong: "We stand for freedom of speech. We will uphold existing rules against posting dox on reddit. But the reality is those rules end at our platform, and we will respect journalism as a form of speech that we don't ban. We believe further change can come only from example-setting."
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  163. ^ Morris, Kevin (February 12, 2012). "Reddit bans "suggestive or sexual content" of minors".  
  164. ^ BadgerMatt (December 16, 2010). "My story as an anonymous kidney donor and my plea for your help". Reddit. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  165. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (December 19, 2010). "The Dangers of Going Viral: Kidney Donor Attacked by Reddit For Plugging Charity".  
  166. ^ nyan_all_the_links (July 15, 2014). "[H] Deus Ex: Human Revolution (300+ copies) [Steam], [W] Any and all steam offers". Reddit. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  167. ^ Morris, Kevin (October 28, 2011). "A sweet deal on Reddit gets IT exec fired".  
  168. ^ Morris, Kevin (October 29, 2011). "Game swap leads to harassment, firing, apology".  
  169. ^ "Innocents accused in online manhunt". 3 News NZ. April 22, 2013. 
  170. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (April 26, 2013). "Family of Sunil Tripathi - missing student wrongly linked to Boston marathon bombing - thank well-wishers for messages of support". The Independent (London). Archived from the original on 17 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015. The cause of the student's death has still be determined but the medical examiner said no foul play was suspected. 
  171. ^ Nark, Jason. "The Boston bombing's forgotten victim". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014. Akhil spent the most time with Sunny before his suicide, weekends at Brown where he tried to help his youngest child foresee a future. 
  172. ^ Martin, Erik. "Reflections on the Recent Boston Crisis". Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  173. ^ Harnick, Chris (November 24, 2013). "'The Good Wife' Recap: Alicia Takes on Anonymous Posters in 'Whack-A-Mole'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  174. ^ Hathaway, Jay (11 November 2014). "Here's How The Newsroom Covered Reddit's Failed Boston Bombing Manhunt". Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  175. ^ Fallon, Kevin. "‘Newsroom’ Premiere: Aaron Sorkin Puts CNN on Blast Over the Boston Bombing". Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  176. ^ Oremus, Will (November 1, 2013). """Reddit politics: r/politics mods ban Mother Jones, others for "bad journalism.. Slate. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
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  181. ^ Vincent, James (September 1, 2014). "Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?". The Independent (London). Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
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  189. ^ Geller, Eric. "Reddit just banned the subreddit at the center of Celebgate". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
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  192. ^ "TotalBiscuit discusses the state of games journalism, Steam Greenlight, ethics, DMCA abuse and Depression Quest. : gaming". reddit. 
  193. ^ "cupcake1713 comments on Latest Zoe Quinn drama explodes. SpiritualSuccessors takes on the job of undertaker and ferryman across the styx to /r/Shadowban.". reddit. 
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  200. ^ Celarier, Michelle (18 March 2015). "Users lash out at Reddit boss for ‘deleting’ posts on hubby’s lawsuit". New York Post. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  201. ^ "Reddit in uproar after staff sacking". BBC News. BBC. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015. About 100 chat sections, or sub-reddits, that together have millions of readers are believed to have been shut. Reddit's only comment about the issue has been to say that it did not talk about 'individual employee matters'. The protests were led by the volunteer moderators of the AMA section, which said in an explanatory posting that they needed Ms Taylor to keep the sub-reddit functioning. Ms Taylor helped organise guests for AMAs and worked to verify that people due to answer questions were who they said they were. There had been no explanation of why she was suddenly sacked, said the administrators. 
  202. ^ "Reddit: Laute Rufe nach Absetzung von CEO Ellen Pao". 4 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. Zwar sind einige Foren wieder entsperrt, trotzdem ist Pao weiterhin Ziel vielerlei Angriffe. Zusätzliches Öl ins Feuer goss ein ehemaliger Community Manager der Online-Community, der angab von der Reddit-Chefin aufgrund seiner Krebserkrankung gefeuert worden zu sein. Zuvor wurde dem an Leukämie erkrankten Mitarbeiter eingeräumt, beim Unternehmen zu verbleiben – allerdings meldete sich Pao nur wenig später und gab ihm zu wissen, dass er aufgrund seiner Erkrankung nicht mehr bei Reddit verbleiben könnte. So zumindest die Behauptung, die wenig später offline ging. 
  203. ^ "Reddit’s CEO Allegedly Fired an Employee For Having Cancer and Not Recovering Fast Enough". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  204. ^ McGregor, Jena (6 July 2015). "More than 200k people have signed a petition calling for Reddit’s Ellen Pao to step down". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
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  207. ^ Reddit CEO Ellen Pao apologizes: 'We screwed up' By Laurie Segall and Chris Isidore July 6, 2015
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  210. ^ Titcomb, James (7 July 2015). "'"Petition calling for Reddit boss Ellen Pao to resign hits 200,000 as she admits 'we screwed up. London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  211. ^ Mike, Isaac (10 July 2015). "Ellen Pao Is Stepping Down as Reddit’s Chief". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 10 July 2015. 


See also

On July 2, 2015, Reddit began experiencing a series of blackouts as petition to remove Pao as CEO of Reddit Inc. reached over 200,000 signatures.[204][205][206] Pao posted a response on July 3 as well as an extended version of it on July 6 in which she apologized for bad communication and not delivering on promises. She also apologized on behalf of the other administrators and noted that problems already existed over the past several years.[207][208][209][210] On July 10, Pao resigned as CEO and was replaced by former CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman.[83][211]

After Pao became CEO, Reddit shut down the 150,000 subscriber subreddit 'fatpeoplehate' and four others on June 10, 2015, citing issues related to harassment.[198] This move was seen as very controversial with some commenters saying the bans went too far and some saying not far enough.[199] Reddit users also criticized Pao's lawsuit and complained about deletions of posts concerning Pao on Reddit.[200]

After the Charleston church shooting, Reddit was cited as a website with "skewed enforcement" due to a recent banning of five subreddits which did not include a subreddit that went on to include "posts expressing support" for Dylann Roof, the sole suspect of the church shooting.[196] Reddit issued a statement to BBC that they are "committed to promoting free expression." and that "There are some subreddits with very little viewership that get highlighted repeatedly for their content, but those are a tiny fraction of the content on the site."[197]

On December 18, 2014, Reddit took the unusual step of banning a subreddit 'SonyGOP' that was being used to distribute hacked Sony files.[195]

Also in August 2014, in response to the GamerGate controversy, reddit moderators and administrators censored a large amount of content. One thread in the "gaming" subreddit had 24,000 comments removed.[192] Multiple subreddits were deleted by administrators for voicing opinions on Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu and similarly important GamerGate controversy figures. Banned subreddits included /r/ZoeQuinnDiscussion. Administrators defended this response when questioned, blaming 4chan for raiding threads and causing harm. Those claims were refuted.[193] The administrators removed a subreddit moderator for leaking correspondence between himself and Zoey Quinn.[194]

In August 2014, photos from the 2014 celebrity photo hack were widely disseminated across the site.[180][181] A dedicated subreddit called "TheFappening" was created for this purpose,[182] and contained links to most if not all of the criminally obtained explicit images.[183][184][185][186][187] Some images of Liz Lee and McKayla Maroney from the leak were identified by Reddit users and outside commentators as child pornography because the photos were taken when the women were underage.[188] The subreddit was banned on September 6.[189] The scandal led to wider criticisms concerning the website's administration from The Verge and The Daily Dot.[190][191]

In late October 2013, the moderators of the politics subreddit banned a large group of websites. Many were left wing opinion websites, such as Mother Jones, The Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet, Rawstory, The Daily Kos, Truthout, Media Matters, and ThinkProgress as well as some popular progressive blog sites, such as Democratic Underground and Crooks and Liars. They also banned a number of right wing sites—Drudge Report, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, Dailypaul, Power Line, and Reason. Salon reported that "the section's moderators explained in a post on Tuesday, the goal is 'to reduce the number of blogspam submissions and sensationalist titles.' The purge, the moderators explained, is also aimed at sites that provide lots of "bad journalism."[176] The December 2013 list of banned websites has been modified since late October, and sites with original content, such as Mother Jones and The Huffington Post, are allowed.[177] Moderators also banned RT, which moderators stated was due to vote manipulation and spam, though one moderator stated that he wanted RT banned because it is Kremlin backed.[178][179]

Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Reddit faced criticism after users wrongly identified a number of people as suspects.[169] Notable among misidentified bombing suspects was Sunil Tripathi, a student reported missing before the bombings took place. A body reported to be Sunil's was found in Rhode Island's Providence River on April 25, 2013 as reported by the Rhode Island Health Department. The cause of death was not immediately known, but authorities said they did not suspect foul play.[170] The family later confirmed Tripathi's death was a result of suicide.[171] Reddit general manager Martin later issued an apology for this behavior, criticizing the "online witch hunts and dangerous speculation" that took place on the website.[172] The incident was later referenced in the season 5 episode of the CBS TV series The Good Wife titled "Whack-a-Mole".[173] and The Newsroom.[174][175]

On October 18, 2011, an IT manager submitted a post to the subreddit "gameswap" offering Redditors to trade one of 312 codes he had been given for the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution.[166] A group of users obtained his personal details, and began to blackmail him for the codes.[167] The Monday after uploading the post, he received 138 threatening phone calls both at home and at his job, and by the end of the day he had been fired.[168]

On December 16, 2010, a Redditor named Matt posted a link describing how he has donated a kidney, and included a JustGive link to encourage users to give donations to the American Cancer Society.[164] After an initially positive reaction, Reddit users began to become suspicious of Matt's intentions, and suggested that he was keeping the donations for himself. Users telephoned his home and he received death threats. Matt eventually proved that he was genuine by uploading his doctor's records.[165]

Following some controversial incidents of internet vigilantism, Reddit introduced a strict rule against the publication of non-public personally-identifying information via the site (colloquially known as doxxing). Those who break the rule are subject to a site-wide ban, and their posts and even entire communities may be removed for breaking the rule.

The website generally lets moderators on individual subreddits make editorial decisions about what content to allow, and has a history of permitting some subreddits dedicated to controversial content.[156] Many of the default pages are highly moderated, with the science subreddit banning climate change denialism,[157] and the "News" section banning opinion pieces and columns.[158] Reddit has changed its site-wide editorial policies several times, sometimes in reaction to controversies.[159][160][161][162] Reddit has had a history of giving a platform to objectionable, but legal content, and in 2011 news media covered the way that jailbait was being shared on the site, before the site changed their policies to explicitly ban "Suggestive or sexual content featuring minors".[163]

Controversies involving Reddit

During a post-rally press conference, Reddit co-founder Ohanian asked, "What role did the Internet campaign play in convincing you to hold this rally?" Jon Stewart responded by saying that, though it was a very nice gesture, the two had already thought of the idea prior and the deposit on using the National Mall was already paid during the summer, so it acted mostly as a "validation of what we were thinking about attempting".[154] In a message to the Reddit community, Colbert later added, "I have no doubt that your efforts to organize and the joy you clearly brought to your part of the story contributed greatly to the turnout and success."[155]

The idea resonated with the Reddit community, which launched a campaign to bring the event to life. Over $600,000[152] was raised for charity to gain the attention of Colbert. The campaign was mentioned on-air several times, and when the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was held in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2010, thousands of redditors made the journey.[153]

He writes, "This would be the high water mark of American satire. Half a million people pretending to suspend all rational thought in unison. Perfect harmony. It'll feel like San Francisco in the late 60s, only we won't be able to get any acid."

As a response to Glenn Beck's August 28, 2010, Restoring Honor rally (heavily promoted by him in his Fox News broadcasts during the summer), in September 2010 Reddit users started a movement to persuade Stephen Colbert to have a counter-rally in Washington, D.C.[150] The movement, which came to be called "Restoring Truthiness", was started by user mrsammercer, in a post where he described waking up from a dream in which Stephen Colbert was holding a satirical rally in D.C.[151]

"Restoring Truthiness" campaign

Also known as the "Slashdot effect", the Reddit effect occurs when a smaller website has a high influx of traffic due to Reddit.[149] It is also called the "Reddit Hug of Death" among the website's users. Because Reddit is such a large site, the traffic is immense and can easily crash smaller sites. In order for users to see crashed websites, several Reddit bots have been created that take a snapshot of the website before large amounts of traffic flood the affected website.

Reddit effect

Journalists have used the site as a basis for stories, though they are advised by the site's policies to respect that "reddit’s communities belong to their members" and to seek proper attribution for people's contributions.[148]

Reddit's users are more privacy-conscious than on other websites, using tools like AdBlock and proxies,[145] and they hate "feeling manipulated by brands” but respond well to "content that begs for intelligent viewers and participants."[146] Lauren Orsini writes in ReadWrite that "Reddit's huge community is the perfect hype machine for promoting a new movie, a product release, or a lagging political campaign" but "very specific set of etiquette. Redditors don’t want to advertise for you, they want to talk to you."[147]

In February 2013, Betabeat published a post that recognized the influx of multi-national corporations like [134][135][136][137] She recommended that advertisers design promotions that "spark conversations and feedback."[138] She recommended that businesses use AMAs to get attention for public figures, but cautioned “It is important to approach AMAs carefully and be aware that this may not be a fit for every project or client.”[139] Nissan ran a successful Branded content promotion offering users free gifts to publicize a new car,[140][141] though the company was later ridiculed for suspected astroturfing when the CEO only answered puff piece questions on the site.[142][143] Taylor described these situations as "high risk" noting "We try hard to educate people that they have to treat questions that may seem irreverent or out of left field the same as they would questions about the specific project they are promoting."[144]

Commercial activity

  • In early December 2010, members of the Christianity subreddit decided to hold a fundraiser[110] and later members of the atheism subreddit decided to give some friendly competition,[111] cross-promoting[112] fundraising drives for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and World Vision's Clean Water Fund, respectively. Later, the Islam subreddit joined in, raising money for Islamic Relief. In less than a week, the three communities (as well as the Reddit community at large) raised over $50,000.[113] Most of this was raised by the atheism subreddit, though the smaller Christianity subreddit had a higher average donation amount per subscriber.[114] A similar donation drive in 2011 saw the atheism subreddit raise over $200,000 for charity.[115]
  • In early October 2010, a story was posted on Reddit about a seven-year-old girl, Kathleen Edward, who was in the advanced stages of Huntington's disease. The girl's neighbors were taunting her and her family. Redditors banded together and gave the girl a shopping spree[116][117] at Tree Town Toys, a toy store local to the story owned by a Reddit user.
  • Reddit started the largest Secret Santa program in the world, which is still in operation to date. For the 2010 Holiday season, 92 countries were involved in the Secret Santa program. There were 17,543 participants, and $662,907.60 was collectively spent on gift purchases and shipping costs.[118][119][120] In 2014, about 200,000 users from 188 countries participated.[121]
  • Members from Reddit donated over $600,000 to DonorsChoose in support of Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive. The donation spree broke previous records for the most money donated to a single cause by the Reddit community and resulted in an interview with Colbert on Reddit.[122]
  • Reddit users donated $185,356 to Direct Relief for Haiti after an earthquake devastated the nation in January 2010.[123]
  • Reddit users donated over $70,000 to the Faraja Orphanage in the first 24 hours to help secure the orphanage after intruders robbed and attacked one of the volunteers, Omari, who survived a strike to the head from a machete.[124]
  • In October 2012, [130] The paint-a-thon raised $2,700.[129][128]
  • In February 2014, Reddit announced it would be donating 10% of its annual ad revenue to non-profits voted upon by its users.[131]
  • Reddit continued this policy for 2015. $82,765 was donated to each of the following: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Doctors Without Borders, Erowid Center, Wikimedia Foundation, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, NPR, Free Software Foundation, Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Tor Project.[132]

Reddit has been known as the instigator of several charity projects, some short and others long-term, in order to benefit others. A selection of major events are outlined below:

Philanthropic efforts

Its popularity has enabled users to take unprecedented advantage of such a large community. Its innovative socially ranked rating and sorting system drives a method that is useful for fulfilling certain goals of viewership or simply finding answers to interesting questions. User sentiments about the website's function and structure include feelings about the breadth and depth of the discussions on Reddit and how the site makes it easy to discover new and interesting items. Almost all of the user reviews on, which rates Reddit's monthly unique traffic rating 125th in the United States, mention Reddit's "good content" as a likable quality. However, others raise the negative aspects of the potential for Reddit's communities to possess a "hive mind" of sorts,[109] embodying some negative aspects of group interaction theories like crowd psychology and collective consciousness.

The website is known for its open nature and diverse user community that generate its content. Its demographics allows for wide-ranging subject areas, or main subreddits, that receive much attention, as well as the ability for smaller subreddits to serve more niche purposes. For example, the University of Reddit, a subreddit that exists to communally teach, emerged from the ability to enter and leave the online forum, the "classroom", at will, and classes ranging from computer science to music, to fine art theory exist.[107] The unique possibilities that subreddits provide create new opportunities for raising attention and fostering discussion across many areas. In gaining popularity in terms of unique users per day, Reddit has been a platform for many to raise publicity for a number of causes. And with that increased ability to garner attention and a large audience, users can use one of the largest communities on the Internet for new, revolutionary, and influential purposes.[108]

Community and culture

According to Google Ad Planner's estimate, as of May 2013, the median Reddit user is male (59%), 18–29 years of age, and is connecting from the United States (68%). has stated that 6% of all American adult Internet users have used Reddit and males were twice as likely to be Reddit users as females.[106]


There are several Reddit applications for iOS. These include Alien Blue, Karma, Upvote, iReddit, and iPad-specific applications such as Reddzine and Biscuit.[103] In September 2014, an official mobile application for browsing AMA (Ask Me Anything) threads was released for the iOS and Android platforms under the name Ask me Anything.[104] As of October 2014, Alien Blue is now the official iOS Reddit app.[105]

On July 21, 2010, Reddit outsourced the Reddit search engine to Flaptor, who used its search product IndexTank.[93] As of July 12, 2012, Reddit uses Amazon CloudSearch.[94] There are several unofficial applications that use the Reddit API in the Google Play store, and F-Droid repository. Examples include: Reddit is Fun,[95] Andreddit,[96] F5, BaconReader,[97] Reddit Sync[98] and an Android tablet specific application called Reddita.[99] There are also several Windows apps used to access Reddit, including unofficial Reddit apps such as ReddHub[100] and Reddit To Go!.[101] An unofficial desktop application Reditr[102] exists that is compatible with Windows, OS X, Linux and ChromeOS.

As of November 10, 2009, Reddit has decommissioned their physical servers and migrated to Amazon Web Services.[90] Reddit uses PostgreSQL as their primary datastore and is slowly moving to Apache Cassandra, a column-oriented datastore. It uses RabbitMQ for offline processing, HAProxy for load balancing and memcached for caching. In early 2009, Reddit started using jQuery.[91] On June 7, 2010, Reddit staff launched a revamped mobile interface featuring rewritten CSS, a new color scheme, and a multitude of improvements.[92]

Reddit was originally written in [3] The reasons given for the switch were wider access to code libraries and greater development flexibility. The Python web framework that former Reddit employee Swartz developed to run the site,, is now available as an open-source project.[86] On June 18, 2008, Reddit became an open source project.[87] With the exception of the anti-spam/cheating portions, all of the code and libraries written for Reddit became freely available on GitHub.[88] As of November 10, 2009, Reddit uses Pylons as its web framework.[89]


In October 2015, Reddit announced a news portal called Upvoted, designed to broaden the reach of Reddit as a standalone site featuring editorial content from Reddit users.[85]

In October 2014, Reddit announced Redditmade, a service which allowed moderators to create merchandise for their subreddits. Redditmade closed in February 2015.[81] In November 2014, Chief Executive Yishan Wong resigned and co-founder Ohanian returned as the full-time executive chairman. Ellen Pao, Reddit's business and partnerships strategist became the interim chief executive.[82] On July 10, 2015, Pao resigned and was replaced by Steve Huffman as CEO.[83][84]

[80] for its Reddit Gold subscription service through a partnership with bitcoin payment processor Coinbase.bitcoin On February 14, 2013, Reddit began accepting the digital currency [79]

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