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Reddit launches five-day live-streaming test

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Only eligible users will be able to broadcast

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Reddit is testing out something that, if successful, could help it take on platforms like Twitch and YouTube — live-streaming. The company today announced its first broadcasting tool, which it’s calling the “Reddit Public Access Network.” The software will let eligible users live-stream to a new subreddit called r/pan.

Users who want to tune into broadcasts can do so directly from the subreddit, but top streams will appear on Reddit’s front page throughout the testing period, according to a blog post. Users will also be able to vote on their favorite stream, similar to Reddit’s upvote system, which will dictate what appears on the homepage.

Not everyone will be able to stream. The company is being “incredibly judicious with the rollout of RPAN,” it says, and even created additional policies specifically for people using the new feature. There are obvious rules — no pornography, or illegal or dangerous behavior, for example — but Reddit’s new policies also state that borderline behavior is also prohibited.

If the content of the stream would normally trigger a quarantine on the site (a term used by Reddit to mean restricted or hidden), it shouldn’t appear on stream. This includes promoting ideologies or behavior that “average redditors may find highly offensive or upsetting, or which promotes hoaxes.” That would suggest that hateful streams or streams spreading misinformation are not allowed.

Reddit seems to be making moderation a main priority. Streaming will only be allowed between 9AM and 5PM PT during the five-day test. This lets the company have dedicated employees ready to tackle moderation issues that spring up or concerns from viewers. It’s unsurprising considering the current issues surrounding live-streaming. In just the last six months, mass shooters have used the tool in the past to stream their attacks, leaving companies like Facebook and YouTube scrambling to take down re-uploaded footage.

“We are 100 percent committed to making sure that content on RPAN stays safe and Safe for Work,” the blog post reads. “We will be watching RPAN broadcasts very closely.” The test run for Reddit’s Public Access Network will take place starting today through August 23rd. More information on eligibility criteria and rules can be read on the official blog post and related pages.