What is Reddit really worth? – podcast

This episode was first played on our global news podcast, Today in Focus.

Reddit is one of the last mainstream social media platforms that still resembles something of how the internet used to be. A place where humour abounds, niche interests are obsessed over, gossip is traded and viral videos are spread. Think of it as Facebook’s subversive cousin, or Wikipedia’s anarchic little brother. But for how much longer?

As the Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern tells Helen Pidd, Reddit recently took the ultimate step towards the mainstream: a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange that valued the company at $6.4bn (£

It is a platform that has never made a profit and relies on the patience and commitment of its anonymous and unpaid moderators to keep order. One who goes by the moniker Pedantichrist tells us that he can spend up to 16 hours a day on the site removing hate speech and keeping the forums on topic.

Meanwhile, for users such as Hussein Kesvani, the site is a place to hang out with people willing to share obscure skills such as bookbinding. And the drive to monetise after its IPO is fraught with the danger of killing what made Reddit special in the first place.

The Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen, with a graphic representation of the stock market in the background

Photograph: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

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