Over the past day, an issue has been observed where Google search results for Reddit include a slur in the subdomain. It seems that a bug on Reddit is allowing these slurs to be added to Reddit URLs, which occasionally appear prominently on Google.
One example of this issue was discovered when a staff member at The Verge searched for something related to a lighthearted debate in their Slack channel. They found that some of the Reddit links that appeared had a subdomain with unexpected characters and a slur before the reddit.com domain. Despite these additional characters, the links still directed to Reddit, although the page displayed the Old Reddit layout.
It was not just a one-time occurrence. A site search on Google for the subdomain revealed several links from different subreddits that included the slur. However, it should be noted that the slur does not appear on every Reddit-related query. It has only been observed through specific queries and when searching for the inappropriate URL directly on Reddit and Google.
After this issue was brought to their attention, a Reddit spokesperson acknowledged the problem and confirmed that it is a bug. They stated that they are working with the appropriate partners to fix it. The spokesperson also mentioned that Google will index URLs it finds, whether on or off the Reddit platform, so even if these arbitrary URLs are not officially supported by Reddit, Google may still crawl and index them if shared on another platform.
Google was also asked about this issue and their spokesperson stated that it appears to be related to a configuration problem on Reddit. They expressed their aim to prevent surprising users with content that was not explicitly searched for and mentioned that they will explore ways to address this issue in the future.
It is hoped that this issue will be resolved soon.