Cointelegraph’suser account remains banned on Reddit, with r/technology still missing from thehomepage.
Days after moderatorsposted an apology for automatically deleting posts containing anumber of words and expressions such as ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘National SecurityAgency’, Cointelegraph has received no response from Reddit with regard tothe block.
Reddit’s allegedcensorship of a number of items was recently reported in an article by The Daily Dot, as user u/creq compiled them in a public list. The BBC then reported at the weekend that moderators had confirmedthe use of software “to automaticallydelete posts that featured ‘politicized’ words in order to avoid the linksmaking it to the core list of most popular topics” which, it would seem,include technological terms when used in a context involving current affairs.
The Daily Dotreflected, "many would argue thoseterms have an essential value to readers interested in technology, but the banwas never put up for discussion among the subreddit's millions of subscribers."
In its apology, aReddit moderator cited a “lack oftransparency in our moderation resulted in a system where submissions from awide variety of topics were automatically deleted by /u/AutoModerator”,adding that “the intent of this systemwas, to the extent of my knowledge, not malicious” and “We messed up, and we are sorry”.
In light of thediscovery of r/technology remaining less visible than before, and the unavailabilityof Cointelegraph’s user account, questions will no doubt be asked not onlyabout transparency of moderation but also the continuing policy of thereordered team, which Reddit also announced.
Meanwhile, Reddit’scommunications director Victoria Taylor told news.com.au that Reddit is “currently in the process of figuring outthe best course of action”.
Accusations of Redditcensorship have come up before. An incident in 2012 saw links to The Atlanticand Business Week deleted, displaying the message “this domain has been banned for spamming and/or cheating”. TheDaily Dot reported that the action was due to a spamming operation conducted byThe Atlantic’s social media editor Jared Keller.
While Keller wassubsequently sacked, some critics believe that such cases highlight a tendencyfor knee-jerk reactions on the part of Reddit.
A statement by RedditCEO Yishan Wong posted on Quora last month asserting that “the userbase for Bitcoin is basically crazy libertarians who areincreasingly poorly-informed about currency systems and macroeconomics” hasbeen discouraging for the cryptocurrency community.
While conspiracy theories belong in r/conspiracy, thelack of impartiality such a statement suggest could have implications for asite whose remit is, according to its official definition, “a type of online community where users vote on content”.
“Thisis why Bitcoin is so important,” Amos Meiri, Full TimeCrypto-currency entrepreneur, told Cointelegraph, “imagine a distributed Twitter/ Reddit when no one has control otherthan the users themselves”.