Is Reddit censoring positive Donald Trump content? That’s what a report from right-wing publication Infowars is claiming.
It appears as if Reddit is trying to hide pro-Trump content from new forum members, as the story says that “Reddit is banning the vast majority of pro-Donald Trump posts from appearing on its ‘most popular’ page frequented by new users.”
— OverTheMoonbat (@OverTheMoonbat) February 21, 2017
If this is true, why would they be doing it?
Apparently, Reddit recently stated that they would be choosing which content showed up in the “popular” section of the site, and it looks as if a side effect of this move is no more positive Trump posts.
According to Infowars’ Kit Daniels, who authored the report, when a graph is drawn up showing which content Reddit staff are eliminating from their “popular” section, “The_Donald” is overwhelmingly taken out more than other topics.
Daniels isn’t afraid to admit that he thinks this pro-Trump censorship by Reddit is deliberate in nature, citing an occasion in which Steve Huffman, the Chief Executive Officer of Reddit, promised to make pro-Trump material scarce in places on the site not strictly dedicated to it.
As it turns out, Huffman did more than just that last November, as it was discovered that he had been actively tweaking the content of members’ pro-Trump posts, the Washington Times and other mainstream outlets reported. Once this was revealed, the Reddit CEO made a public apology.
Steve is also the one responsible for permanently axing the controversial “Pizzagate” forum from his site, and it was the public backlash he received from doing this that prompted him to modify comments left by pro-Trump Reddit users.
Participants in the Huffman-directed backlash were targeting the CEO’s own Reddit account named spez with NSFW content, and Steve admitted that in response to these lewd, offensive messages, he decided to replace his own avatar name with those of the leaders of the pro-Trump forum “The_Donald”, thus sending them the vulgar content he had initially received.
— John Koetsier (@johnkoetsier) January 18, 2017
In essence, it seems Huffman sought to punish members of the pro-Donald Trump community for a decision he made that didn’t go over well.
BKit Daniels is also apparently convinced that Reddit is far from the only heavily-trafficked social media site expurgating positive Trump rhetoric. According to him, Twitter and Facebook have already been doing this for some time.
“Since Trump’s election, the largest social media sites including Facebook and Twitter have suppressed Trump supporters – and perhaps even the president himself.”
Like Reddit, Twitter also recently divulged a change in the handling of content. In early February, the service said it would begin censoring “abusive, low-quality” posts for “safety” reasons, which Daniels claims really means that whoever is in charge of doing this is going to hide whatever content they personally believe crosses the line.
Infowars claims this specific change in content policy effectively hid Twitter users’ positive replies to tweets from President Trump, which in turn accelerated the display of Trump’s not-so-friendly responses.
Unlike Reddit and Twitter, Facebook, or more appropriately its founder Mark Zuckerberg, has added motive to practice censorship, as about eight years ago China nixed the social media giant, and that’s a market Zuckerberg very much wants back.
Daniels says that China relies on heavy censorship throughout all types of media to keep their citizens ignorant to the realities of the world, claiming Chinese civilians don’t even know about significant historical events that happened in their home country. The Chinese government does this because an uninformed society is easier to manipulate and rule.
The Infowars report then compares the rises in censorship of Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to the Chinese regime. Zuckerberg, Huffman, and Jack Dorsey are akin to Lu Wei, the former “internet policeman” of the Communist Party of China.
Mark Zuckerberg has actually met with Chinese government officials in person a couple of times. During one of these meetings, the Facebook CEO showed Lu Wei that he had purchased a copy of the Chinese president’s book detailing his authoritarian rule. Zuckerberg told Wei that the book would be a good thing for his staff to read so they could better grasp the concept of Chinese socialism.
Zuckerberg also decided at one point to learn Mandarin, which is the main language of Bejing and is estimated to be spoken by almost a billion people worldwide.
Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook all have expanded on their censorship policies in the last couple of years, but in Western society, should we instead be looking for ways to cut back, not add, on methods that hinder freedom of speech? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Julia Tim/Shutterstock]