The social networking sites Facebook and Reddit were accused of censorship over the weekend after pages discussing the terrorist attack in Orlando were deleted or blocked. Why are these pages and threads being targeted for deletion? Why do these social media sites feel that it is proper to silence the discussion of such important issues?
- Reddit users said site’s moderators blocked discussions of terrorist attack
- The main news forum on the site became overwhelmed with posts Sunday
- Users said moderators responded by deleting comments related to carnage
- Facebook also accused of censorship by political pundit Pamela Geller
- She said her page ‘Stop the Islamization of America’ was deleted Sunday
- Said ban showed Facebook wants ‘people to remain ignorant of jihadism’
The moderators of the Reddit forum r/News, a page where users post and discuss breaking news, appeared to be overwhelmed by the influx of content in the wake of Sunday’s shooting, which left 50 dead, including the gunman Omar Mateen.
Users reported that threads and comments discussing the shooting were being deleted, and accounts banned from the r/News forum in the hours after the attack.
This screenshot of the discussion forum r/News, taken hours after Sunday’s attack in Orlando, shows scores of comments were deleted
A moderator posted an explanatory note, saying Orlando-related threads were heavily edited because they were ‘being filled with hate speech, vitriol, and vote manipulation’
Forty-nine people were killed by terrorist Omar Mateen in a shooting rampage at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on Sunday
A screenshot of the ‘Orlando Nightclub Shooting – Megathread’ – a consolidated discussion thread -showed the majority of comments were marked as ‘[deleted].’
By Sunday evening, moderators began opening threads back up and responded to criticism that they were ‘censoring’ discussion of the terrorist attack.
In an explanatory post, a moderator said that Orlando-related threads were heavily edited because they were ‘being filled with hate speech, vitriol, and vote manipulation.’
Reddit content is displayed based on a voting system by which the most ‘upvoted’ posts and comments become the most visible. R/news is a ‘default subreddit,’ which means it’s one of 49 topical forums that appear on every new user’s front page.
Reddit users can customize their front pages based on their personal interests. There are over 800,000 forums, known as ‘subreddits,’ from which to choose.
The moderator also said Orlando threads were being ‘brigaded’ – a process by which users band together to down or upvote a given topic or opinion (‘It’s the Reddit form of a lynch mob,’ according to one user’s explanation).
‘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,’ the r/News moderator wrote.
‘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.’
But some users were not satisfied with that explanation.
Multiple users reported they were banned from the forum after pointing out that the shooter had suspected ties to Islamic terrorism
One user said that a post containing information about where to donate blood was deleted in the wake of the attack
A Reddit moderator came under fire for writing ‘kill yourself’ in response to criticism related to the editing of Orlando shooting discussions
Multiple users reported they were banned from the forum after pointing out that the shooter had suspected ties to Islamic terrorism.
One user said that a post containing information about where to donate blood was deleted in the wake of the attack.
And an individual moderator came under fire for writing ‘kill yourself’ in response to criticism related to the editing of Orlando shooting discussions.
Meanwhile, the political commentator Pamela Geller said her Facebook page ‘Stop the Islamization of America‘ was deleted shortly after the terrorist attack.
‘@FACEBOOK REMOVES OUR PAGE in the wake of JIHAD SLAUGHTER IN #Orlando,’ Geller wrote on her Twitter page.
Political pundit Pamela Geller complained on Twitter that her anti-Jihad Facebook page was deleted after Sunday’s attack
She posted a screenshot of a message from Facebook that read, in part:
In an interview with the conservative opinion website Breitbart, for which Geller is a regular contributor, she accused Facebook of deleting her page because the company is ‘committed to… making sure people remain ignorant and complacent about the nature and magnitude of the jihadi threat.’
Geller’s Facebook page was online as of Monday morning.
Why is it that social media feels that they have the right to censor the discussion of the issues surrounding the terrorist attack in the Orlando nightclub? What agenda are they trying to push upon America?