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A Verge employee discovered a bug in Reddit that allows slurs to be added to Reddit URLs. This bug causes unexpected characters and a slur to appear before reddit.com in some Reddit links. As a result, these URLs can sometimes appear prominently on Google search results.
The bug allows any words and phrases to be added to the subdomain of a Reddit URL. These URLs still work and point to the correct Reddit page. If they are found, Google will index these URLs, which means they can appear in search results.
Reddit, who recently made some big changes in their branding, is aware of the bug and is working on a fix. Google is also working on ways to prevent this issue from occurring in the future. The bug is allowing slurs to be displayed prominently on Google search results. This could be upsetting or offensive to some users.
We became aware of a bug, a week or two ago, that allows any words and phrases to be updated and manipulated on a post page hyperlink that leads back to Reddit. We’re working with the appropriate partners on a fix. For context, we’ve found that Google will index URLs that work that it finds, both on and off platform, so if someone shared a link on another platform to one of those arbitrary URLs, Google will crawl and index it, even if we don’t “officially” support it.
If you are a Reddit user, be aware that this bug allows slurs to be displayed prominently on Google search results. You may avoid clicking on Reddit links in Google search results until the bug is fixed.