Was /r/news censored? Or was it heavy handed moderation? | The Tylt
As the events of the Orlando shooting unfolded, something strange happened on Reddit. As users tried to respond in their usual fashion—through crowd-sourced megathreads—the commenters on /r/news found their posts censored and deleted (posts highlighted in red mean they were deleted). The accusations of censorship are not new, and are part of a larger culture war happening across Reddit.
There has been a struggle over free speech at Reddit. It has literally been tearing subreddits apart.
The posts deleted from r/news in the midst of the story’s development included hate speech, off-topic comments and other violations of the subreddit’s rules. But moderators also deleted posts that contained actual news: updates from the FBI on the possibility that the gunman had an affiliation with the Islamic State; a post identifying the suspect’s full name, and another one that contained information on how to give blood.
Once screenshots of those posts showed up in r/The_Donald, the news subreddit was flooded with complaints, personal insults and repeated accusations that r/news’s mods were conspiring to "cover up" the religious affiliation of the gunman.
"It is mind boggling that these liberal entities want to cover up the fact that this person and all of these other criminal incidents are Muslims," one user wrote in r/news’s megathread on the shooting. "Facts are facts. It is as if they want a take over."
In the aftermath of the Boston bombing, redditors unleashed a witch hunt in the live thread. With such a track record, mods often err on the side of caution during situations like the Orlando shooting when rumors and misinformation run rampant.
The moderators of /r/news released this statement on Monday in response to the accusations of censorship:
We've heard your feedback on how today's events were handled. So here's the rundown of why certain actions were taken and what we intend to do to rectify the situation:
/r/news was brigaded by multiple subreddits shortly after the news broke. This resulted in threads being filled with hate speech, vitriol, and vote manipulation. See admin comment about brigades.
We did a poor job reacting to the brigades and ultimately chose to lock several threads and then consolidate other big threads into a megathread.
We want to know what you think. Was it #RNewsCensorship or was it #RNewsModeration
Was /r/news censored? Or was it heavy handed moderation?