Pokémon GO. (Niantic)
The Pokémon GO Reddit page has gone private in protest against COVID misinformation.
The community is reacting to Reddit’s failure to adequately stop the spread of misinformation on the platform following changes to the mobile game.
At the start of August, Niantic – the game’s developer – rolled back social distancing measures including reverting back to shorter distances for PokéStops and gyms.
Fans of the game were incredibly angry, with many boycotting the game altogether. A petition was launched and signed by almost 200,000 people.
Niantic has since agreed to maintain the extended distances. They’ve also launched a task force to address concerns with the game.
However, this entire debacle caused a spread of misinformation about COVID and social distancing on the Pokémon GO Reddit page.
Specifically, this came from Reddit subs like NoNewNormal, Conspiracy, and Conservative, which are skeptical of pandemic restrictions such as masks and vaccines.
As a result, the Pokémon GO Reddit page is now private, stating:
“We have gone private in protest of Reddit’s inaction against Covid misinformation. As our users know Covid directly impacts this gamer because Go is played outside in real life with others.
“We have stood against Covid misinformation publicly before, and stood with the community when they petitioned Niantic to return the 80m distances so we could continue to play safely.
“To that end, we will stay private until NoNewNormal and similar subs dedicated entirely to misinformation are banned.”
The Pokémon GO Reddit page isn’t alone. According to Forbes, 70 Reddit pages with millions of subscribers went private.
This is a collective effort in protest against Reddit’s inaction and refusal to delete posts undermining the severity of the pandemic.
Reddit responded to Forbes stating it is a community of “open and authentic discussion and debate”, even if that disagrees with popular consensus.