Following the scandal surrounding Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, aka “u/spez,” and “Pizzagate,” Redditors subscribed to the subreddit for President-elect Trump have noticed that /r/The_Donald is “invisible” to non-subscribers on /r/all.
Late last night, u/TheRealRobMonty posted this to the subreddit dedicated to Trump:
I recently received the following message from a friend of mine on the moderation team. I thought I ought to spread it and let the rest of community know what is happening to us:
I figured out the algorithm placed on us. What /u/spez did is that whenever we sticky anything the post isn’t blacklisted. It is marked for invisibility on /r/all. That means the post is still there and takes up one of our slots in the algorithm on /r/all but is invisible to everyone. It means not only do stickied posts not get visibility; they prevent the visibility of our non-sticked posts. We tested this by removing 3 of sticked posts – following that, 3 posts immediately reached /r/all’s front page. They did far worse than what was said in Spez’s “apology”.
The cloak and dagger, the hidden hand, does any of this feel right to you /r/all? Does it feel good to be benefitting from censorship?
We most certainly do ban people who speak counter to our culture. But we have always done that; it is an agreement you tacitly enter into with us by using our subreddit.
But Reddit as a whole has no disclaimer. This change is analogous to agreeing to play a game by a certain set of rules, then angrily attempting to change the rules after-the-fact when someone beats you by playing according to the rules. It is not in the spirit of fairness or of free discourse, especially for a site that was conceived as a “bastion of truth on the Internet”.
The post received over 6,000 “upvotes” on the bulletin board-style website and was viewable in /r/all on the front page for those subscribed to /r/The_Donald. However, when one unsubscribes from /r/The_Donald and reloads the page, the post disappears.
The alleged censorship is the latest in a long list of grievances made by Trump supporters subscribed to his most popular fan subreddit.
Last week, Huffman admitted to editing posts by Trump supporters after “fake news” claims on a subreddit with ties to /r/The_Donald alleged that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were part of a child abuse ring known as “Pizzagate.” The subreddit dedicated to the investigation of Pizzagate, /r/pizzagate, has since been deleted.
The story of how Clinton and Podesta became connected to an alleged child abuse ring was picked up by The New York Times last week. However, the defunct /r/pizzagate had been around since both Clinton and Trump were campaigning. The name of the controversy comes from a pizzeria in Washington, DC called Comet Ping Pong, owned by James Alefantis. Fake news sites named the location as the epicenter of a massive child abuse ring led by Clinton and Podesta.
According to The New York Times, “[Alefantis] found dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms. The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen.” Both sites named are fake news sites.
Reddit has yet to comment on this latest alleged controversy.