If you have followed this blog, you understand social media has become a frictionless conduit for the spread of propaganda. Propaganda is messaging intended to encourage a target to take some action.
There are two sides to propaganda messaging – those promoting a propaganda message and those with opposing views. The strongest form of opposition is when platform operators directly censor third-party opinions. Normally, the answer to speech someone disagrees with, is more speech, not censorship.
Today, Reddit censored comments from those quoting published news reports, quoting the FBI – even banning posters from using Reddit. Large scale deletions of comments, factual in nature, were deleted. (Reddit confirms this occurred – see below for their response.)
Separately, Facebook reportedly shut down a 6 year old, 50,000 member group that advocates against “Islamification” (apparently this is a strongly anti-“Islam in the U.S.” group). (Their account has since been restored.)
Update: Allegedly even Twitter began censoring this topic.
Update 2: Twitter blocked a gay conservative who voices strong views that upset many after making comments about Orlando shooting. (Since reinstated after online uproar to Twitter.)
Update 3: See the end of this post.
Social media has degenerated from useless trivia to propaganda and censorship.
Reddit has responded to their mass censorship today:
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.
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.
Brigades are still underway and there is still a lot of hate speech prevalent in the threads. However, we’re going to take the following steps to address user concerns:
- This is the meta thread where you can leave any feedback for our team. Some mods will be in the comments doing their best to answer questions.
- There is a new megathread with updated information that has been stickied to the top of the subreddit.
- We are allowing new articles as long as they contain new information. Our rules have always been to remove duplicates. We have also unlocked previously locked threads.
- We have removed many of the comment filters that were causing comments to be incorrectly removed. We’ll still be patrolling the comment sections looking for hate speech and personal information.
- We are also aware that at least one moderator on the team behaved poorly when responding to users. Our team does not condone that behavior and we’ll be discussing it after things in the subreddit calm down. We want to first deal with things that are directly impacting user experience. For the time being, we have asked the mod(s) involved to refrain from responding to any more comments.
While we understand that there is a lot of disdain for our mod team right now, please try to keep your messages and comments civil. We are only human after all.