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Reddit follows Facebook suit and bans impersonation on its platform

Earlier this week, Facebook announced its new policy to ban manipulated pictures and videos known as deepfakes from its platforms. Following the suit, yesterday Reddit announced the updated policies about the impersonation. It said a Reddit is no longer going to allow impersonation of an individual or entity in a misleading or deceptive manner.

Reddit wrote on their site regarding the new policy:

Do not impersonate any individual or entity in a misleading or deceptive manner.

Reddit does not allow content that impersonates individuals or entities in a misleading or deceptive manner. This not only includes using a Reddit account to impersonate someone, but also encompasses things such as domains that mimic others, as well as deepfakes or other manipulated content presented to mislead, or falsely attributed to an individual or entity. While we permit satire and parody, we will always take into account the context of any particular content.

It means that new policies aren’t directed towards deepfakes and altered videos only but also the simple lies that people make by impersonating others online. 

In the announcement post, Reddit admin said that the updated policy is to “hedge against things that we haven’t seen much of to date, but could see in the future.” Moreover, the impersonation on Reddit was recorded as the second-lowest class of reported policy violation in 2018 making up 2.3% of total reports. Multiple malicious deepfakes of the politicians were presented in the announcement post as a sample content, the platform intends to prevent with the new policy.

According to updated policies, any derogatory content or misleading impersonation whether a deepfake or not could result in removal or permanent ban from the platform. It means that, for instance, any account impersonating the presidential candidate or making false posts that may be misleading candidate’s character, results in a ban. 

These new policies are in favor of Reddit since it can be considered a new method to shut down misleading campaigns that the platform had faced in the past years. In 2018, 944 suspicious accounts – that were suspected to be linked with the Internet Research Agency – were identified; claimed Reddit. These accounts were majorly seen circulating fake news and negative posts about Hillary Clinton.

Nonetheless, these policies allow impersonation that doesn’t have any harm and just seen as a parody. But of course, it will be quite hard to enforce since it Reddit needs to give itself flexibility to judge the context and then come up with a decision to either ban or not.