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Reddit is testing ‘official’ labels for profiles and making parts of its app compatible with screen readers

Reddit is testing ‘official’ labels for profiles and making parts of its app compatible with screen readers


Reddit shared some product updates on Wednesday.

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The Reddit logo over an orange and black background
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Reddit is starting to test a new “Official” label that will make it easier to spot if an account is authentic. The new label will appear sitewide, meaning that it won’t be up to the moderators of individual subreddits to have to verify specific accounts.

“Starting today, we’re beginning early testing of placing a visual indicator on certain profiles to provide proof of authenticity, reduce impersonation, and increase transparency across the platform,” a Reddit admin (employee) wrote in a post. “This is currently only available to a *very* small (double-digit) number of profiles belonging to organizations with whom we already have existing relationships, and who are interested in engaging with redditors and communities on our platform.”

Right now, the “Official” labels are only visible on Reddit’s iOS and Android apps. “As we evaluate the results of the experiment, we’ll iterate — which will include rolling it to other platforms,” the admin said. And having the “Official” label “does not unlock any special privileges or protections.”

You can get an idea of how the label looks in this image from Reddit:

A screenshot of the reddit_irl account with two areas outlined in orange rectangles to draw attention to the new labels.
Image: Reddit

In a separate post, Reddit announced accessibility improvements intended to make its iOS and Android apps work better with screen readers. In the post, the company said that “prominent surfaces” in the apps will be “compatible with your device’s screen reader” beginning in August and provided the following timeline for what parts of the app will be compatible with screen readers and when:

Navigation: left navigation menu, profile drawer, and bottom tab bar i.e. buttons are entry points to home and community feeds, create a post, chat, and inbox (mid-August)

Community page (mid-August)

Post detail page (mid-August)

Home & Popular feed (late August)

Reddit is also promising that accessibility improvements will be “continuously incorporated in future product updates and releases.”

Accessibility advocates were a key part of the protests against Reddit’s API pricing that forced some third-party apps to shut down, saying that the official apps didn’t have accessibility features that some users needed. The company has made some progress: it exempted some accessibility-focused apps from the API pricing, announced accessibility upgrades for moderators last month, and, last week, invited mods to a new Accessibility Feedback Group.

But it seems like Reddit may still have some work to do on communication. MostlyBlindGamer, a mod of r/Blind (which met with Reddit to discuss accessibility in June), told me in an email that the moderation team didn’t know about the timeline of features announced Wednesday until they were announced.

In a reply to Wednesday’s Reddit post, MostlyBlindGamer also said that they had filled out the form for the Accessibility Feedback Group but hadn’t gotten any feedback. A Reddit admin said the company plans to select participants next week.