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Reddit Bans Subreddits Dedicated to Dark Web Drug Markets and Selling Guns

Reddit announced new changes to its content policy, which led to the end of r/DarkNetMarkets and other communities dedicated to discussing potentially illegal activities.
Image: Che Saitta-Zelterman

For years, r/DarkNetMarkets was the place where drug dealers, hackers, and cyber criminals, would hang out and talk about what happened on illicit marketplaces hosted on the dark web such as Silk Road and Alphabay—and a place for feds to lurk in the hopes of catching some criminals.

On Wednesday, Reddit banned the popular community “due to a violation of Reddit’s policy against transactions involving prohibited goods or services.”


Before its shutdown, r/DarkNetMarkets had almost 160,000 readers. The subreddit has always been controversial, given that its users didn’t hide the fact that they were also users of the illegal marketplaces that law enforcement has been shutting down left and right. In 2015, the feds subpoenaed Reddit to obtain identifying information of the subreddit’s users.

The ban appears to be part of a new crackdown on illegal activities, announced by Reddit on Wednesday.

Read more: The Variety Show

“We have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain goods and services. As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services,” the company wrote.

Those goods and services include: guns, drugs, stolen goods, personal information, falsified documents and paid services “involving physical sexual contact.”

A Reddit spokesperson sent Motherboard the following statement:

"As of March 21, 2018, we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain classes of goods and services. Moving forward, we are prohibiting transactions that are either illicit or strictly controlled. Communities focused on such transactions and users who attempt to conduct them will be banned from the site."

Other drug or dark web related subreddits, like r/xanaxcartel, r/DNMSuperlist and r/HiddenService were also banned on Wednesday.

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