Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been more and more evidence coming to the surface to suggest that some of the mods over at some of Reddit’s top subs are censoring what their users can and can’t see.
This all goes back to the end of February, when Glen Greenwald’s Report on how US and UK Government Agencies infiltrate and manipulate online activity in order to destroy reputations or swing public opinion was banned from being posted to Reddit’s /r/News and /r/WorldNews.
One of the Mods, BipolarBear0 responded to the onslaught of public criticism by revealing that yes, they do filter links submitted to their subreddit, but it’s only to keep it ‘factual’:
We do indeed run a filter list of domains. They are categorized in a few ways, and every single domain listed violates one/all of our stated rules in some regard:
Opinion/Analysis. This section includes domains such as Alternet, DemandProgress, and OpposingViews – basically any domain which predominantly purports misleading or analytic content, or opinionated content (such as op-eds), or content which intends to promote one cause over another. /r/news is for strictly factual news reporting, and as such opinion posts and analysis posts are removed.
Not news. This section includes domains such as change.org, facebook.com and kickstarter.com. While these may be mostly self-evident, the section is added to filter out any non-news stories, something which to an extent goes hand in hand with our limitation on opinion and advocacy posts as described above.
Satire. The reasoning behind the filtering of these domains is pretty self-evident.
Unreliable source. Basically any source which has proven to be highly unreliable or misleading. Included are a few conspiracy domains, as well as any other unreliable outlet – like self-reporting services or personal blogs.
Rebloggers. Basically any domain which engages heavily/solely in the copying and pasting of other journalists’ work in an attempt to pass it off as their own.
Spam. Almost entirely consisting of domains which are submitted by the spammers which you’ll sometimes see plaguing the ‘new’ queue at night in the United States, with titles like “bus service Delhi” or “best SEO marketing”.
Now I know that each subreddit is it’s own independent board, with it’s own independent rules. The mods aren’t obliged to take a neutral position, they can (and do) remove links they just don’t like.
But in a default subreddit that is promoted by Reddit themselves we would (and should) expect the subreddit to be trustworthy and neutral.
But this kind of behaviour isn’t just confined to /r/News and /r/WorldNews, /r/Technology, one of Reddit’s largest subs has also been guilty of removing content that the moderators just don’t like.
Over the past couple of weeks more and more people have been asking just why are all posts and discussion related to Tesla Motors banned?
Those who dare to speak out against the mods find themselves banned and their thread deleted.
The guys over at /r/Undelete have compiled a list of all the keyword terms that appear to be banned from /r/Technology:
- Time Warner
- net neutrality
- National Security Agency
Now I don’t know about you, but a lot of those keywords seem to be related to a lot of political pressure recently, most notably the NSA and GCHQ Surveillance schemes.