As Reddit Becomes Haven For Russian Propaganda And Harassment Of School Shooting Victims, Site Remains Silent
Reddit was a major landing point for Russian propaganda during the 2016 presidential election and more recently was a hotbed of harassment for victims of the school shooting in Florida.
But the company doesn’t want to talk about it.
This week, a report from The Daily Beast found that the “Kremlin-backed troll farm” at the center of the 2016 election interference was heavily involved in Reddit’s The_Donald, the subreddit dedicated to supporting Donald Trump. There had already been reports that The_Donald frequently shared content from Twitter users identified as Russian propagandists, but this report cited firsthand evidence in the form of documents from the troll farm itself.
But when given the opportunity to comment on the story, Reddit denied several. The company has also not addressed the allegations in any of its regular announcements posted to the site’s users. This is not the first time that Reddit has ignored issues that may be harmful to the brand. In a previous Inquisitr story on evidence of Russian propaganda shared on The_Donald, a public relations representative noted that the company would respond within 24 hours to questions about the find. Now nearly a week later, Reddit has never responded.
The company did eventually respond to the Daily Beast story several hours later, saying: “Reddit was not provided evidence of accounts or other data that would enable us to identify misuse or manipulation of the platform by users.” But this was disputed by The Daily Beast, which claimed that all evidence was shared with Reddit.
Some Reddit users have started to take matters into their own hands. Angry over the company’s perceived inaction over harassment of school shooting victims on The_Donald, some reached out directly to advertisers to show them the harassment. One, tax preparation TurboTax, responded that it would be taking its advertisements off the site.
There could be trouble ahead for Reddit related to the Russian interference, the BBC suggested. Other social media companies including Twitter and Facebook have come under congressional scrutiny for their failure to act on Russian propaganda being filtered onto the sites throughout the 2016 election. There are some who believe that Reddit will now be pulled into the Russia investigation as well, though there is no clear indication from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the site will be called in for questioning.
Daily Beast says it has leaked docs from within Russia's Internet Research Agency. Shows how Russians struggled to remain authentic, and heightens (in my view) the pressure on Reddit to join Facebook, Twitter and Google in the wider investigation https://t.co/aOLpXV74Wt
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) March 2, 2018
Reddit still has not responded to questions about the harassment of school shooting victims.