Reddit is one of the most visited websites in the world. Last week, The Hill reported the message board website hired their first federal lobbyists.
The federal disclosure filings indicate Reddit hired the Franklin Square Group in July to lobby on behalf of “Internet issues, including net neutrality and liability protections for online platforms.”
The Hill reports their decision to lobby for liability protections may stem from a reference in a Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a bill pushed by Sen. Rob Portman that would crack down on websites that help facilitate sex trafficking. Facebook and Google have been reportedly hired lobbyists to fight and drive back on the bill as it could open the companies to potential lawsuits.
It is also important to note that Reddit has been called into the Congress’ investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Sen. Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the committee, said that he is worried the site is vulnerable to Russian political influence campaigns.
It is important to note, analysts claim several false news stories originated on Reddit. For instance, as The New York Times points out, four hours after someone posted on Twitter about anti-Trump protesters being shuttled into Austin, the tweeted was posted to Reddit, where it link was rapidly “upvoted” by users. Several hours later, the story was shared on Facebook where over 300,000 users shared it. However, the busses were, in fact, part of a corporate conference and not protesters. In addition, earlier this year the company’s CEO Steve Huffman admitted to altering comments made by users. He said he edited comments that were posted by users because a significant number of them were abusive, arguing he was a pedophile and mentioned him by name.