Though it started off as nothing more than a few geeks talking about technology news, the website was diverged into having forums for every topic you could possibly think of. If it’s a hobby, there’s a forum for it. These forums are referred to as subreddits, and users can subscribe to these subreddits. Subscribing to these subreddits allows content from that subreddit to appear on your front page, similar to a social media feed. Subreddits have the prefix of /R/ before the subreddit name. For example, /r/Videos is a subreddit dedicated to sharing interesting videos found online.
When Reddit was first created in 2005, the founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, wanted it to be a forum where people could speak without censorship. For better or worse, Reddit was designed to be a website about free speech.
Today, Reddit attracts 542 million visitors every month, is the 4th most popular website in the United States, and the 9th most popular website in the world.
As you can imagine, allowing users to post whatever content they want has left Reddit with somewhat of a dark history. Recently, the administrators of Reddit are trying to rebrand the website as a mainstream website that’s seen positively, instead of how it’s viewed today. In order to do this, Reddit administrators have started to censor the website, banning illegal content and any subreddit involved in harassment of any kind. Regardless, we shouldn’t forget about what Reddit used to be like. Here’s a list of 15 subreddits that Reddit is hoping you’ll forget — in case you’ve actually forgotten all about them.
15. /r/CreepShots + /r/CandidFashionPolice
A year after Jailbait was shut down, the subreddit CreepShots started to gain negative media attention. The premise of the subreddit was for users to share sexualized images of women without them knowing that their photo was being taken. In a sense, users were just taking a photo of unknowing women’s breasts and butts while they walked around in public. It may not have been illegal — but it definitely was creepy.
The subreddit was shut down after the popularity of the subreddit caught the attention of mainstream media. In protest, Reddit users created Candid Fashion Police. The premise of the subreddit was essentially the same — voyeuristic photos of unsuspecting women — but people would comment as if they were the fashion police. For example, users would comment on a woman’s outfit pretending to critique her fashion sense. Instead of commenting on the woman’s butt, users would say that she was wearing a great pair of yoga pants. The subreddit is still active today but has been made private.
Please don’t take photos of people in public without their permission. Whether you’re sneaking a photo of a celebrity on a train, taking an unflattering photo of an obnoxious person, or sneaking a sexual photo of an unsuspecting person — it’s always creepy.
Reddit has come a long way from its original mantra of welcoming anything and everything on their site. Quite possibly one of the worst subreddits on the website was /r/BeatingWomen, a remnant of how unorthodox Reddit used to be.
The subreddit featured graphic depictions of violence against women. It wasn’t a very popular subreddit, but nonetheless, it existed — and that’s bad enough.
The subreddit was banned in 2014 after the moderators of the subreddit were caught sharing users’ personal information online. The moderators tried to circumvent the ban by creating a new subreddit called BeatingWomen2, but it was quickly banned as well.
As some of you may remember, a whole slew of celebrity nude photographs was leaked in 2014. The photos were stolen from the Apple iCloud accounts from the victims and shared online. Some victims of this leak included Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, McKayla Maroney, and Kaley Cuoco.
The event was quickly dubbed “The Fappening” by internet users, a play on the M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening. Numerous subreddits were created on the day of the leak, dedicated to publishing the photos, sharing them with other users, and general discussion about the event.
For a reason that’s not entirely known, Reddit administrators shut down all subreddits that were found to be sharing photos from the leak. This was the first instance of Reddit administrators banning subreddits because they felt that the content was too controversial, and many users expressed their frustration toward these admins. Others suggest that the subreddits were banned to avoid a lawsuit that would destroy them, similar to what Hulk Hogan did to Gawker when he sued them for distributing a video of him having sex.
/R/Jailbait was a subreddit devoted to content that featured provocative photos and videos of teenagers. It was pretty disgusting. Erik Martin, the general manager of Reddit at the time, defended many controversial subreddits, including Jailbait, by saying that it was just one of the consequences of allowing free speech on the site.
In 2008, Jailbait was chosen as the subreddit of the year in the “Best of Reddit” user poll. The term was one of the most popular searches on the website and generated a lot of unwanted media attention for the site.
Anderson Cooper devoted a segment of his CNN television show to express his outrage that the subreddit exists and shaming Reddit for allowing it to exist on their website. Following the CNN segment, the subreddit experienced a spike in traffic, reaching 1.73 million views on the day of the report.
The subreddit was shut down by Reddit administrators after a user posted a photo of an underage girl, the user claiming that he had nude photographs of her as well. Many users asked to be sent the photographs privately.
Do you remember the controversy surrounding Seth Rogen‘s film The Interview before it was released? To summarize, a hacker group under the name Guardians of Peace (GOP) leaked confidential data from Sony Pictures (the film company that made The Interview). Some of the leaked files included personal information about Sony Pictures employees, e-mails between employees, salary information, and a number of copies of unreleased Sony Pictures films (Wikipedia). It’s widely believed that Guardians of Peace were a North Korean intelligence group. This belief is held by United States intelligence officials, though North Korea has denied all responsibility.
A subreddit titled SonyGOP was created to share the documents that had been released by the anonymous hacker group. For reasons most people understood, the Reddit administrators banned the subreddit for sharing materials that had been acquired illegally. There isn’t much of a trace left of this subreddit on the website; however, there are a number of private subreddits dedicated to sharing hacked files, similar to the ones that were shared in SonyGOP.
/R/FatPeopleHate (often referred to as FPH) was a subreddit dedicated to ridiculing a number of people, usually women, who were part of the fat acceptance movement. It was a counterculture to people trying to feel more comfortable in their own skin. Oftentimes, users would go on sexist tirades about women in the comment sections of photos and videos featured on /r/FatPeopleHate. It was a hateful subreddit that most of Reddit tried to steer clear from.
In the summer of 2015, a number of subreddits were banned by Reddit administrators citing their anti-harassment policy. The ban was controversial with many users arguing that Reddit administrators were waiting for a reason to ban the subreddit at the drop of a hat because it was generating negative publicity.
At the time the subreddit was banned, Reddit was managed by interim CEO Ellen Pao. Users blamed Ellen Pao for the banning of FatPeopleHate and a number of other controversial subreddits. Users flooded the website with photos of Ellen Pao calling her every foul name under the sun. Redditors were comparable to children throwing a tantrum for being told not to bully their classmates. After she left the interim CEO position, it was revealed that Ellen Pao was fighting to protect subreddits like /r/FatPeopleHate.
Coontown was a subreddit dedicated to promoting violent hate speech against black people. The subreddit was filled with racist people who did nothing but bring unnecessary hate onto the website. Initially, the CEO of Reddit defended Coontown and other subreddits like it, saying that you need to encourage people to speak openly about their opinions. Both racists and people that promote racial tolerance don’t benefit at all from living in an echo chamber. In other words, if you surround yourself with people that agree with everything that you do, you can’t possibly grow as a person. The argument could be made that the subreddit was a breeding ground for racism and turning mildly racist people into extremely racist people.
In 2015, the admins of Reddit decided it was time to make their website a little more safe for work. In a sweeping declaration, the Reddit admins announced they would be banning a number of hateful subreddits and placing a number of others into quarantine. These quarantined subreddits can only be found if you actively seek them. Quarantined subreddits contain highly offensive material that only a small number of weirdos want to look at.
The PizzaGate subreddit revolved around a conspiracy theory that’s so crazy, it’s amazing that anyone found it believable. Essentially, the theory stated that John Podesta’s emails that were leaked by WikiLeaks contained hidden messages that referred to human trafficking. Allegedly, the coded e-mails referred to a child-sex ring involving members of the Democratic Party and a number of restaurants in the United States. It was embarrassingly unbelievable and has been completely debunked — but there are still a few believers.
A conspiracy theorist named Edgar Maddison went to one of the suspected restaurants, Comet Ping Pong, and fired three shots into the building. He hit the walls, desk, and floor, with bullets from his AR-15-styled rifle. He claimed that he wanted to inspect the restaurant for himself to see if there really was a child sex ring. In an interview after the event, he says he regrets how he handled the situation but hinted that he still believed the theory.
Furthermore, a number of people associated with the restaurants that hosted these sex rings were harassed on their social media accounts. Restaurant owners scrambled to protect members of their staff, and Amanda Kleinman, from band Heavy Breathing, which had performed at one of the restaurants, closed her Twitter account because of this harassment. /r/PizzaGate was related to many of these harassment cases.
/r/FindBostonBombers is one of the worst things that Reddit has ever done. Essentially, it was a witch hunt that led to thousands of users harassing the social media accounts of people that Reddit suspected were behind the bombing of the Boston Marathon. One of the suspects was a 22-year-old college student named Sunil Tripathi. Users were convinced Sunil Tripathi was behind the bombing because he had been listed as missing a month prior to the Boston Bombing. Users messaged his family members horrible messages along the lines of calling him a terrorist, a terrible American, sick in the head, and a number of other things that are too offensive to be listed here.
Users were examining photos of anyone who happened to have a backpack near the finish line 90 minutes prior to the bombing. It was a witch hunt, plain and simple. Anyone that participated in the witch hunt — whether on Reddit or on behalf of the mainstream media — should be ashamed. The original Boston Bomber suspect, Sunil Tripathi, was found dead, floating in the Seekonk River a few days after the Bombers were apprehended. His death was ruled a suicide.
Redditors and members of the media were not accurate in any of their predictions as to who the Boston Bomber was. The FBI was pressured into releasing photos of the Tsarnaev brothers to end the witch hunt.
Whether you want to believe it or not, Reddit has, for a number of years until today, been used to sell firearms in the United States. Through a legal loophole, online gun sales between individuals are, for the most part, legal, as long as the guns are shipped to a federally licensed firearms dealer. If you think that this is something that went on without Reddit admins knowing, you’d be wrong.
In 2011, a redditor ordered around 100 AR-15s, and with the “all clear” from the company that ran Reddit at the time, Conde Nast, the redditor, was able to engrave the Reddit logo on all of the guns.
The problem with selling guns through a website like Reddit is that the government is hoping that sellers do their due diligence and check the backgrounds of people they’re selling guns to. However, some frequent buyers on the subreddit have admitted that they’ve avoided background checks altogether when buying online. It’s unknown how many firearms have been bought and sold through the subreddit.
Many people don’t realize that the majority of the internet is actually hidden from public access. Approximately 90% of the internet is hidden in what is known as Deep Web or Dark Web.
The Dark Web is typically associated with hackers, criminal organizations, and other sketchy people. However, the Deep Web refers to any network that can’t be found by using a search engine. The websites are encrypted to avoid having just about anyone accessing them. That said, this definition applies to things like your online bank account, PayPal account, etc.
On the subreddit DarkNetMarkets, users openly discuss their experiences buying things from the Dark Web. For the most part, people order drugs online from the Dark Web. Risky, but people have particular tastes. Users warn others of particular vendors, and vendors ask customer service-related questions. Essentially, the subreddit acts as a guide how to navigate black market websites safely. This isn’t exactly something Reddit wants to be associated with, but the subreddit is still active to this day.
Dedicated to the then potential presidential candidate, the subreddit started as somewhat of a parody of what it has become. Through excessive memes, titles that were all caps, and the use of terminology only known by Trump supporters, the subreddit quickly became one of the most active subreddits. Users within the subreddit have been caught more than once trying to harass social media profiles of politicians, journalists, and other public figures. Furthermore, users of the subreddit were encouraged to manipulate votes on posts within the subreddit to push their posts to the front page of Reddit, where they appear among other posts that have been deemed the most popular.
Due to this vote manipulation, /r/The_Donald doesn’t appear by default on the front page of Reddit as it used to. Is it censorship? Absolutely. But the moderators of the subreddit discourage outsiders from participating in discussions on posts in the subreddit.
Thanks to the Reddit admins, your feed will never get flooded with posts from /r/The_Donald. Instead, you’ll get bombarded with posts from subreddits protesting Trump. The excessive anti-Trump posts are just as annoying as the pro-Trump posts. The subreddits that love him treat him like a god, and the ones that hate him regularly compare him to Adolf Hitler.
TheRedPill is a reference from the movie The Matrix, where the main character is offered a pill that will change his life forever. The term has been adopted by a number of groups, but on Reddit, TheRedPill refers to one of the most sexist active subreddits.
TheRedPill subreddit focuses on discussing different strategies for men to pick up women. These strategies include acting dominant to women, being an “alpha,” thinking of yourself as a “Chad,” and calling anyone who isn’t rude to women a beta male.
The mindset of users on the subreddit (often referred to as Red Pillers) is incredibly misogynistic and could be viewed as a counter-culture to modern feminism. The subreddit also focuses on stories of women abusing men or women trying to frame their husbands for spousal abuse. It’s sort of a mix of men’s rights, misogyny, racism, and listening to a bunch of stereotypical jocks in a high school locker room talk about trying to get laid.
It’s a well-known fact that only people who are completely messed up psychologically enjoy hurting animals for fun. It takes a particularly disturbed person to harm an innocent, helpless creature just because you can. Typically, this type of behavior is associated with psychopaths and serial killers.
The subreddit HurtingAnimals is filled with content related to animal gore. Oftentimes, users make jokes out of photos of dead animals. Occasionally, users post a video of a live animal being maimed or executed in front of a crowd of people.
Users in the subreddit often brag that /r/HurtingAnimals is tame compared to the content that they post on the Dark Web. It’s sickening that people enjoy watching this type of content — but it’s a sick world that we live in.
An incel is someone who’s involuntarily celibate, meaning incels don’t engage in sexual activity although they want to. The people that post on /r/Incels are often depressed, anxious, on the verge of suicide, and have a very misogynistic view of women. They believe that no woman will ever love them because women are only interested in dating the stereotypical dreamboat man who only exists in Hollywood movies. These men are referred to as “Chads.” Anyone who is considered normal is referred to as a “Normie.”
The subreddit is interesting to view from the perspective of a Normie because it’s sort of hard to tell how honest the people on the subreddit are being. A lot of the time, users are looking to throw themselves a pity party and reject the advice given to them by Normies.
Hands down, it’s one of the most depressing subreddits on the website. It’s no wonder that it’s essentially hidden from the rest of Reddit.