Social networking site Reddit, long known for its open policies on freedom of expression, said it will start prohibiting attacks and harassment against users on its site.
The San Francisco company said in a blog post Thursday that it is “unhappy with harassing behavior” on the popular online forum.
“Instead of promoting free expression of ideas, we are seeing our open policies stifling free expression,” the company said. “People avoid participating for fear of their personal and family safety.”
This is not the first move Reddit has made to curtail user practices. In March, the company banned revenge porn from its site.
Last month, the firm said it conducted a survey of more than 15,000 users that showed “negative responses to comments have made people uncomfortable contributing or even recommending Reddit to others.”
The changes have occurred under the leadership of interim Chief Exeuctive Ellen Pao, who lost a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit in March against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Pao’s lawyers said in court that she was fired from the venture capital firm because she spoke up about her ill treatment.
Kleiner Perkins contended that Pao had been an underperforming employee and was a disgruntled former worker.
In its blog post, Reddit defined harassment as “systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean” individuals in a way that would make them feel unsafe on the site or fear for their safety or that of others around them.
Users can report offensive messages or email the company directly.