Watching social media platforms take out conservatives is akin to watching the mobs topple statues throughout America: They are choosing destruction over discourse.
Reddit joined other social media companies who have booted right-leaning groups after it banned the “r/The_Donald” community from its platform Monday for violating its rules 1, 2 and 8, according to a results page on a Reddit search for the community.
The rules cover infractions such as “bullying” or promoting “hate based on identity or vulnerability” (essentially, only protecting favored groups) and technical violations against the site, although it is unclear what specific instances led to the ban on the subreddit, which was a haven for the community of nearly 800,000 President Donald Trump supporters.
According to a Reddit announcement, the ouster comes after the company recently updated its rules with the help of its moderators and “outside experts” to more “explicitly address hate” which on the surface sounds laudable except that conservatives and their viewpoints are often labeled as such without merit.
The post also included the announcement that Michael Seibel has joined Reddit’s board of directors. Notably, Seibel’s bio on the website says he is a Yale graduate who majored in political science and served on Democratic Maryland Rep. Kweisi Mfume’s failed 2006 Senate campaign.
Seibel replaced co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who stepped down from Reddit earlier this month citing the desire to be able to “answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’”
Ohanian is married to tennis star Serena Williams and the couple has a 2-year-old daughter together.
“I’ve resigned as a member of the reddit board,” Ohanian he tweeted on June 5. “I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp.”
I’ve resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 🚀 (@alexisohanian) June 5, 2020
Despite the stench of political bias surrounding the circumstances of the ban, the company insists it is about community standards rather than politics.
“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” CEO Steve Huffman told reporters in a call, according to The New York Times. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”
Approximately 2,000 other groups were also banned, including the left-wing podcast “Chapo Trap House” subreddit and many inactive groups, but none match the size and scope of the pro-Trump community.
While these social media platforms are ostensibly censoring “hate speech,” they seem to cut disproportionately against the right.
Because of this, they have become de facto publishers, lifting the protections they enjoy as a platform and opening up a Pandora’s box of trouble as they cultivate rather than simply host viewpoints.
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They are systematically taking out viewpoints they don’t wish to even have discourse with, seeking instead to silence conservatives rather than engage in discussion — much like angry protestors toppling statues instead of confronting history.
As social media companies increasingly attempt to shut down conservative voices, the good news is there are other companies such as Parler that have emerged to fill in the gap with users including @TheWesternJournal migrating to the new platform.
And, at least for now, articles on your favorite conservative website can also be shared to Reddit, including this one simply by clicking the share arrow at the bottom of the story.
There is no doubt that as the public discourse becomes more divisive and media companies retreat to their leftist corners, conservative viewpoints will continually be marginalized.
But the opportunity is ripe for independent conservative news sites and social media platforms to blossom unimpeded–and for a silenced majority to make their voices heard at the ballot box in November.
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