By Kevin Reed 5 September 2020
Earlier this year, the World Socialist Web Site was officially blacklisted from r/politics, the largest political subreddit on the link-sharing social media site Reddit, with no explanation given.
On August 28, an article entitled, Trump runs for Fhrer inexplicably made it past the blacklist, having been shared by a Reddit user in the r/politics subreddit. It quickly won thousands of upvotes, received over 600 comments, and was elevated onto Reddits front page.
The r/politics moderators immediately sprang into action. They labeled the WSWS article as coming from an Unacceptable Source and shut down the political discussion among Reddit members.
As we reported on Saturday, the censored WSWS articlewhich analyzed President Trumps nomination acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Conventionbecame instantly popular because it said what the establishment media refused to. It exposed Trumps law and order response to the mass protests, his appeals to the police, military and federal paramilitary forces, and his tirades against socialism and Marxism as part of an attempt to establish a personalist presidential dictatorship and create a fascist movement in the US.
The articles thousands of upvotes were accompanied by overwhelmingly supportive comments, including the following:
These events make clear the nature of Reddits censorship of the WSWS. It is aimed at silencing left-wing criticism of the US political establishment, under conditions in which broad sections of its own readers are hungry for news and analysis from just such a perspective.
Moreover, the WSWS analysis pointed out that the only reason Trump has been able to take his dictatorial plans as far as he has is because of the spinelessness of his Democratic Party opponents. As the article explained, the Democrats have consistently blocked any appeal to the broad majority of the population and, in particular, the working class, and this is because, as one of the two parties of Wall Street and big business, the Democrats are just as terrified of, and hostile to, the growth of mass popular opposition to capitalism as Trump is.
However, for the r/politics moderators, this analysis by the WSWS is considered unacceptable. And, approximately nine hours after the WSWS article was sharedand after it had received 9,200 upvotes (93 percent of those who voted) and more than 600 commentsthe r/politics moderators labeled the article from an Unacceptable Source and shut down the political discussion.
The subreddit moderators political censorship of the WSWS article Trump runs for Fhrer comes as no surprise given their previous removal of wsws.org from the r/politics domain whitelist.
On May 26, Reddit users attempting to post links from the World Socialist Web Site to r/politics were informed that the wsws.org domain had been removed as a recognized source of news and analysis on the subreddit.
Subsequent attempts by users to publish links to articles from wsws.org were returning an automated system message that says, Your submission was automatically removed because wsws.org is not on our approved source whitelist. r/politics has a number of conditions that domains must adhere to in order to be approved as an acceptable source.
As we explained in an earlier article on April 3, regarding the banning of the World Socialist Web Site from the r/coronavirus subreddit, the removal of the wsws.org domain by moderators is unmistakably an act of political censorship designed to block our analysis of the unfolding crisis from reaching the public.
In the case of the r/coronavirus ban in April, moderators claimed that WSWS articles were off-topic political discussion. In the more recent case of r/politicsa subreddit specifically devoted to political topics and political discussionthe moderators have resorted to a cruder form of censorship: the false claim that the World Socialist Web Site is unacceptable.
We have also pointed out that the World Socialist Web Site is recognized internationally as a major source of authoritative Marxist journalism and analysis. Articles on the site are frequently quoted by leading authors and journalists around the world and in dozens of academic papers. Articles and statements on wsws.org are translated into 24 languages and the site is followed daily by a growing international audience of hundreds of thousands of readers.
Both recent instances of political censorship by Reddit moderators were recently noted by Matt Taibbithe freelance journalist and contributing editor for Rolling Stonein his May 29 blog post Planet of the Censoring Humans, which surveyed a series of recent online censorship actions by the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit.
Taibbi wrote, In late April, the World Socialist Web Sitewhich has been one of the few consistent critics of Internet censorship and algorithmic manipulationwas removed by Reddit from the r/coronavirus subreddit on the grounds that it was not reliable. The site was also removed from the whitelist for r/politics, the primary driver of traffic from Reddit to the site.
The subreddit r/politics was created in August 2007 and is one of the most widely used forums on Reddit. Out of 1.2 million subreddits on the news aggregation platform, r/politics ranks at number 56. It has 6.5 million members with tens of thousands actively participating users at any one moment. At the time of this writing, for example, there are approximately 150,000 users participating in live online political discussions on r/politics on a range of topics.
There are more than 1,020 news source domains included on the r/politics whitelist. These include newspaper publishers (359), policy think tanks (188), web publishers (183), magazine publishers (118), television networks (48), international news agencies (39), polling and research organizations (37), radio broadcasters (19), US government agencies (10), news wire services (10) and political parties (9).
The r/politics whitelist includes numerous right-wing publisherssuch as The Federalist, Breitbart.com and theWashington Timeswho engage in promoting racism, xenophobia, conspiracy theories and completely false and dangerous information about the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Socialist Web Site had been previously whitelisted nearly three years ago by the subreddit and, since August 2017, hundreds of article links have been shared. These articles have resulted in some of the most popular discussions on r/politics and produced a combined total of hundreds of thousands of upvotes and tens of thousands of comments.
We demand answers from the moderators of r/politics to the following questions:
Finally, we call upon all Reddit users and others who defend free speech rights to demand an end to political censorship by r/politics moderators and that the World Socialist Web Site be restored to the subreddit whitelist with an accompanying official statement to this effect.
The author also recommends:
Reddit moderators censor WSWS article on Trumps speech at Republican convention [29 August 2020]
Reddit bans 2,000 communities in major censorship action [2 July 2020]
Why is the World Socialist Web Site banned from the subreddit r/coronavirus? [3 April 2020]
Google is blocking the World Socialist Web Site from search results.
To fight this blacklisting:
- Letter: Censorship and the CPSDB - The Suburban Times - February 11th, 2021
- Chilling trend toward censorship - Chicago Daily Herald - February 11th, 2021
- Government censorship threats over TikTok spiked interest in VPNs - ZDNet - February 11th, 2021
- For a brief period, there was a platform for sensitive political debate in China. Then censors shut it down - CNN - February 11th, 2021
- Why I think censorship is important in the age of social media | Column - The Daily Collegian Online - February 11th, 2021
- Send a Big Message to Big Tech: Stop the Censorship - National Federation of Republican Women - February 11th, 2021
- Response to Censorship, freedom of speech article - The Tryon Daily Bulletin - Tryon Daily Bulletin - February 11th, 2021
- Facebook's depoliticization aimed at censorship of left-wing and socialist organizations - WSWS - February 11th, 2021
- Sundance 2021 Review: CENSOR, The Danger Of Confusing Fiction With Reality - ScreenAnarchy - February 11th, 2021
- Blacklisting And Censorship Are Hallmarks Of Repressive Societies - The Federalist - February 11th, 2021
- Censorship or conspiracy theory? Trump supporters say Facebook and Twitter censor them but conservatives still rule social media - USA TODAY - December 5th, 2020
- OIF Seeks Information on 2020 Censorship Incidents | News and Press Center - ala.org - December 5th, 2020
- In India, a Clash of Digital Innovation and Internet Censorship - CoinDesk - Coindesk - November 30th, 2020
- Censored Planet: University of Michigan research finds worldwide increase in internet censorship - WSWS - November 30th, 2020
- Twitter claims it has reversed ban of link to Sidney Powell's Georgia election lawsuit - Fox Business - November 30th, 2020
- Jeanine Pirro Thinks Big Tech is Censoring Her Text Messages - Mediaite - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship In The Biden Era - OpEd - Eurasia Review - November 30th, 2020
- Ex-Employee Confesses! Behind-the-Scenes of Google Censorship - The Liberty Web English - November 30th, 2020
- The attempt to censor Jordan Peterson shows the intolerance of the social justice generation - Telegraph.co.uk - November 30th, 2020
- PlayStation Reportedly Censoring PS5 Users on Twitter - ComicBook.com - November 30th, 2020
- Ted Nugents Wife Shemane Targets Instagram For The Recent Censor But She Puts It Again On Instagram To Find A Solution For Free Speech - Metalhead... - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship - Wikipedia - November 28th, 2020
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - November 28th, 2020
- What is Censorship? - National Coalition Against Censorship - November 28th, 2020
- Censorship on social media? It's not what you think - CBS News - November 28th, 2020
- 'Welcome To The Party, Zoom': Video App's Rules Lead To Accusations Of Censorship - NPR - November 28th, 2020
- ICANN Can Stand Against Censorship (And Avoid Another .ORG Debacle) by Keeping Content Regulation and Other Dangerous Policies Out of Its Registry... - November 28th, 2020
- Ted Cruz digs in for congressional battle over censorship on Twitter, Facebook - Houston Chronicle - November 28th, 2020
- The Dangerous Inversions of the Debate Around Trans Censorship - The New Republic - November 28th, 2020
- Carter Estes: Effort to ban Trump officials from Harvard is a dangerous attack on free speech and education - Fox News - November 28th, 2020
- Meet the Censored: Andre Damon - WSWS - November 28th, 2020
- Donald Trump says Twitter censorship is a national security issue - Washington Times - November 28th, 2020
- In hybrid online-offline format, theatre fest explores the Unexpressed, censorship of womens bodies and artistic collaborations - The Indian Express - November 28th, 2020
- Was this censorship?: Noam Chomsky, Vijay Prashad ask Tata Lit Live after it cancels their discussion - The Hindu - November 28th, 2020
- Tata Lit Fest cancels a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, raising concerns of censorship - Frontline - November 28th, 2020
- Barcelona members strike back vs. Bartomeu: What does 'motion of censorship' mean, and what's next? - ESPN - September 18th, 2020
- What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible. - EFF - September 18th, 2020
- Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok - The World - September 18th, 2020
- Trumps Partial TikTok And WeChat Ban Tip-Toes Into Chinese-Style Censorship - Forbes - September 18th, 2020
- Judd Apatow Criticizes Hollywood's Censorship For International Market: China Has Bought Our Silence With Their Money - Deadline - September 18th, 2020
- Bangladesh in the Shadow of Censorship The Diplomat - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Why is the government pushing unprecedented online censorship? - Telegraph.co.uk - September 18th, 2020
- Not Content to Censor Conservatives, Zuckerberg Now Seeks to Meddle in Election - National Legal and Policy Center - September 18th, 2020
- New Alliance to Track and Fight Censoring of Conservatives - CBN News - September 18th, 2020
- Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India - The Wire - September 18th, 2020
- China's Influence on the Global Human Rights System - Human Rights Watch - September 18th, 2020
- China Isn't Hiding the Border Tensions With India From Its Public Anymore - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Call Trumps Attacks On The 1619 Project What They Are Censorship of American History - Forbes - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is bringing an updated content censorship term for its users from October 1st - Digital Information World - September 6th, 2020
- Will Joe Rogan Have The Guts To Call Out Spotify For 'Censorship'? - CCN.com - September 6th, 2020
- Joe Rogans Spotify move condemned by fans over right-wing censorship claims - The Independent - September 6th, 2020
- Shadow banning and its role in modern day censorship - Cherwell Online - September 6th, 2020
- Apple reacts to censorship censure - Mobile World Live - September 6th, 2020
- TunnelBear Circumvents Iran VPN Block, Launches 10GB Monthly Offer in the Country - Business Wire - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is changing its Terms of Service, and users are not happy - Windows Central - September 6th, 2020
- Kahle: Upholding the public trust - The Register-Guard - September 6th, 2020
- Science protections must be enforceable | TheHill - The Hill - September 6th, 2020
- Reddit isnt happy about President Trumps anti-censorship executive order - Reclaim The Net - September 6th, 2020
- Forget TikTok. Chinas Powerhouse App Is WeChat. - The New York Times - September 6th, 2020
- The shaky upcoming national election environment can be fixed - JNS.org - September 6th, 2020
- Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer Lin Wood threatens to sue Twitter over censorship - Reclaim The Net - September 4th, 2020
- Finding human territory in a fractured world - The Tech - September 4th, 2020
- We dont believe in censorship: Controversial Aboriginal commentator to lead WA festival amid fear of backlash from Noongar people - WAtoday - September 4th, 2020
- How WeChat Censored the Coronavirus Pandemic - WIRED - August 28th, 2020
- Voter Advocacy Orgs Sue Trump Administration for Executive Order Threatening Social Media Censorship - EFF - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait eases censorship laws after banning 5000 titles in last 7 years - The Indian Express - August 28th, 2020
- Buffy's Amber Benson on censorship, the musical, and Tara's death - digitalspy.com - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait relaxes book censorship laws after banning thousands of titles - The Guardian - August 28th, 2020
- Film and Publications Amendment Act: Protecting, not censoring, our citizens in the digital age - Daily Maverick - August 28th, 2020
- Chinas wrath on Hong Kong is causing artists to self-censor - Reclaim The Net - August 28th, 2020
- Here are 5 excuses liberals have put forward in defence of modern day book burning, and why it makes them look like total morons - OpIndia - August 28th, 2020
- Jessie and Austins aunt vs TikTok the debate around censorship of Bodies in the Suitcase video - HITC - August 28th, 2020
- Artists Ai Weiwei and Fang Fang's depictions of the Wuhan lockdown - DW (English) - August 28th, 2020
- A Radioactive Plague: The secrecy and censorship surrounding civilian deaths from World War II - Milwaukee Independent - August 10th, 2020
- Censorship on the internet in 2020: The potential effects of TikTok - Film Daily - August 10th, 2020
- Wicker: Time to address online censorship - The Vicksburg Post - Vicksburg Post - August 10th, 2020
- Open Technology Fund Authorization Act - BORGEN - Borgen Project - August 10th, 2020
- The Logic of a US WeChat Ban - The Diplomat - August 10th, 2020
- Ben Domenech Clashes With Joe Trippi Over Censorship Of Trump's Social Media - The Federalist - August 10th, 2020
- German Analysis Institute Regrets Censorship of a Professional Science Assertion - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - August 10th, 2020