Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has admitted to editing comments of pro-Trump Reddit users, in violation of the site’s free speech policy.
Huffman targeted posts that criticized him personally, replacing mentions of his name with names of the r/the_donald subreddit’s moderators.
“If The_Donald had done this to another Reddit employee, I would have banned them.”
“I abused my power to give the bullies a hard time,” he told The Washington Post on Friday. “If The_Donald had done this to another Reddit employee, I would have banned them,” he said.
Huffman’s interference with the posts seems to have been in response to a backlash he faced after banning the popular r/pizzagate subreddit, which was dedicated to investigating conspiracy theories about a Washington, D.C. restaurant and a pedophile ring involving John Podesta and other Clinton allies.
This isn’t the first time Reddit has in some way moved to squash the ability of its conservative and right-wing users to speak freely. Over the summer, Reddit altered its algorithm in an attempt to prevent posts from r/the_donald from becoming popular enough to start trending on the site.
[lz_ndn video= 31667135]
Nor is Reddit the first social media site to find itself facing a storm of criticism after being caught censoring conservative viewpoints.
In May it was revealed that Facebook’s “trending topics” were the result not of an algorithm, but the choices of a group of human curators — one of whom admitting to routinely suppressing stories of interest to conservatives. Facebook apologized, fired its news curation team, and implemented a computer algorithm to establish which stories are “trending.”
Twitter also has a history of suppressing conservative voices. In July, the social media site banned Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos after a number of his followers began tweeting insults to comedian Leslie Jones.
Unlike Reddit or Facebook, however, Twitter has made no effort to pretend to apologize for its treatment of conservatives. Indeed, a week after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Twitter purged many of its most popular “Alt-Right” accounts in what appeared to be retribution for Trump’s win.
Unfortunately, anyone who believed that a Trump victory would herald a new age tolerant of conservative and right-wing speech online is likely to be sorely disappointed. It appears that in the wake of Trump’s win, progressive powers-that-be across the globe are coming together in order to figure out a way to silence online voices of the Right once and for all.
Last Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a two-pronged war against “fake news” and “hate speech” on social media. “Something has changed,” noted Merkel. “As globalization has marched on, debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren’t formed the way they were 25 years ago,” she added.
Merkel’s true meaning is clear. The people are no longer believing hook, line, and sinker the propaganda being spoon-fed to them by globalist elites, and Merkel doesn’t like it one bit. “Populism and political extremes are growing in Western democracies,” she noted.
Two weeks ago, both Facebook and Google announced they were taking steps to prevent websites which host “fake news” from making money through advertising. According to Gizmodo, Facebook tried once before to curtail “fake news” — and it “disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds.”
Most people will likely agree that fake news is bad, especially when taken and spread as fact, but allowing organizations with very clear liberal biases, like Facebook or Reddit, to be the arbiters of what is or isn’t “fake news” poses its own serious problems.
While a story like “Mark Zuckerberg and the Pope Spotted Playing Cards with Donald Trump in Las Vegas” is very obviously fake news, a reasonable editorial that expresses an opinion with which liberals disagree — say, for example, “Why Islam Is a Threat to the West” — could easily find itself classified as “fake” by the Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Huffmans of the world.
Also being tested in Germany is the speed with which sites like Facebook are deleting content that globalist liberals find disagreeable. Last week, in addition to attacking “fake news,” Merkel reiterated her support for a shockingly totalitarian government program that monitors whether or not social media posts reported by users as “racist” — which is German for anti-immigration and anti-Islam — are taken down.
“I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values,” Merkel said in a speech to the Bundestag.
As anti-globalist, right-wing populism continues to grow in strength across the West, so too will the efforts of the liberal globalists to stop its spread via social media.