Every day, millions of people from all over the world submit posts, comments, and other content to Reddit.
The social news and discussion platform has been around for more than 17 years and over time its popularity has only increased.
With Reddit about to reach adulthood, the site has certain responsibilities. In recent years, these have included the publication of a transparency report documenting how various legal policies affect the site’s content.
The report shows how Reddit’s content policy leads to the deletion of millions of posts per week, including spam, hateful content, sexualization of minors, prohibited goods, and harassment. As a result, more than five million user accounts were banned last year, either temporarily or permanently.
DMCA Notices and Takedowns Increase
The number is significant, especially when taking into account that it doesn’t include copyright-related complaints. Reddit’s responses to DMCA takedown notices and the site’s handling of excessive copyright infringement are listed separately in the “legal removals” section.
These figures have been steadily increasing, and last year was no exception, according to the transparency report.
“In 2022, we saw a 43% increase over the previous year in the total number of copyright notices received, a 126% increase in the amount of content reported for removal, and a 97% increase in the amount of content removed,” Reddit reports.
Compared to other content removals, copyright actions are relatively modest. In 2022, Reddit received 254,632 copyright notices, in which rightsholders asked the site to remove 1,668,452 pieces of content. Of these requests, close to 80% resulted in items being removed.
These numbers are relatively small compared to the dozens of millions of ‘content policy’ removals. However, they carry a different weight as the content is reported by third-party actors, instead of Reddit mods or bots.
User and Subreddit Bans
This increase is not limited to the copyrighted links and content removed, subreddits are affected too. Several popular Reddit communities have to jump through hoops to avoid getting banned but not all manage to do so. In 2022, Reddit booted 3,215 subreddits for excessive copyright infringement.
According to Reddit’s transparency report, this is a 105% increase year over year but this percentage seems a bit high, as the site already reported 2,625 subreddit bans last year. That said, the trend is definitely up. If we go back to 2020, ‘only’ 514 subreddits were banned.
A similar trend emerges for users banned for excessive copyright infringement. In 2020, 303 users were banned, increasing to 2,813 users in 2021, reaching 5,853 last year. That’s close to a twentyfold increase in three years.
Not all DMCA notices are accepted as true. As mentioned earlier, close to 80% are rejected for various reasons. This can simply mean that some information is missing, but there are also more notable rejections.
For example, Reddit reports that several of the notices received didn’t appear to come from the legitimate rightsholder, but from fans instead.
“The notices contained clear signals that they were submitted by the creators’ fans, who did not have express authorization from the creators to do so. A copyright notice must come from either the copyright owner or an expressly designated agent, so Reddit declined to process these notices.”
All in all, it’s clear that Reddit has its hands full complying with DMCA takedown notices. With billions of pieces of user-generated content, this isn’t a major surprise. That said, it’s good to keep an eye on these developments with help from Reddit’s transparency reports.