Users of the news/discussion website Reddit are alleging that Reddit’s comments were disabled site-wide for a period this evening, and that, coincidentally, that period was during the President Trump Rally in West Virginia. It seems, once again, that Reddit has been caught with its hand in the political censorship cookie jar once again.
During the election season, a subreddit popped up in support of Donald Trump, called /r/The_Donald. Like the man himself, the subreddit grew in popularity. Reddit is a site used by many younger people, who statistically are left-wing, so /r/The_Donald became burdensome to many. In order to stop this subreddit from taking over the front-page of Reddit (sorted by amount of upvotes and popularity), algorithms were changed multiple times, with many changes targeting /r/The_Donald specifically. Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman was in heat many times over his treatment of /r/The_Donald and application of censorship. Firstly, he edited comments by users. To be fair, many edits were done of users calling him a pedophile. However, legally that means Reddit comments cannot be taken at face value, if there is a backdoor method for editing by its administrators at any time. Secondly, Steve Huffman deleted comments by user /u/StoneTear. This account was eventually subpoenaed by Congress as well as all posts archived by internet users. /u/StoneTear, as it turns out, was on of Hillary’s IT staffers, asking on Reddit how to delete content from “a VIP’s” email.
Now, it seems that censorship, or a test of it, took place this evening. The ability to comment was disabled from the time the President Trump Rally started, until around the moment it ended. There are a few questions, namely, was the blocking of comments site-wide a mistake or cover? Reddit may have attempted to disable comments only on /r/The_Donald, but once again their attempts to censor /r/The_Donald blew up in their face. Or, was Reddit attempting to not allow discussion because a “big announcement” was teased prior to this rally? Jeff Sessions is supposed to speak Friday on intelligence leaks, maybe a big announcement is related to that, and Reddit wanted to keep discussion of it to a minimum. Maybe, Reddit is trying to keep positive Trump news isolated by not even allowing his own words to be discussed. Maybe, Reddit is testing its censorship abilities for a future event.
Maybe, the timing was just a coincidence. Reddit has yet to comment on the incident.