A Republican congressman is blasting the social media site Reddit for muzzling supporters of President Donald Trump while giving free rein to liberals to say any disgusting thing they please.
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana has sent a blazing letter to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman demanding that Reddit move a forum called “The_Donald” out of what amounts to a social media version of time out.
The forum was first shipped off in the limbo known as “quarantine” after threats against public figures and law enforcement began to appear on it in June.
Banks has no quarrel with that decision.
However, he noted, June is now long past, meaning it’s time to restore full access to the forum.
“Although the initial imposition of the quarantine may have been justified, its continuation in the face of r/The_Donald’s compliance with sitewide content policies and ahead of the 2020 election amounts to ideologically motivated election interference,” Banks wrote.
Banks said if the forum titled “The_Donald” was shipped into limbo for the language of its users, forums used by liberals should face the same fate.
“To this point, the same content-policy violations that led to r/The_Donald’s quarantine take place regularly and egregiously in numerous left-wing subreddits. These subreddits have faced no repercussions,” Banks wrote.
“I would point out the indisputable fact that Reddit, with its 330 million users, was and is rife with similarly disgusting rhetoric,” Banks wrote.
“When such comments are posted in apolitical or left-wing subreddits, your administrative team has declined to take substantive action. Even when they have been posted at the same time and concerned the same subject matter as the comments that led to r/The_Donald’s quarantine.”
Banks noted that at one point, “a commenter in the liberal subreddit r/Politics had the following to say about Republican legislators: ‘Shoot these f—ers. In the knees. For running like pieces of s—.’ Not one of the comments that led to r/The_Donald’s ban reached such a staggering level of vitriol.”
The bottom line, he said, is that Reddit is not playing fair.
“As long as r/The_Donald is quarantined, this double-standard completely discredits any claim Reddit has to political-neutrality,” he wrote.
Banks accused Reddit of not having standards by which it quarantines speech it wishes to suppress.
“This is an admission of political prejudice. The world’s third-largest social media site should not make politically motivated publishing decisions,” he wrote.
Banks said that by not restoring the forum about Trump, Reddit appears to have joined the ranks of technology companies discriminating against conservatives.
“Many of my Republican colleagues and I are concerned by an apparent left-wing bias in California technology companies,” Banks wrote, adding, “If you deny the request and fail to provide a transparent and thorough explanation as to why, my colleagues and I will have to assume that you’re biased against conservative content published on Reddit.”
The letter closed by reminding Huffman of a boast he made about Reddit’s power during a 2018 interview.
” [Y]ou said ‘I’m confident that Reddit could sway elections,’ followed by ‘We wouldn’t do it, of course,'” Banks wrote.
“I’m less certain. I can’t think of a more obvious and effective way to ‘sway elections’ than to hide the largest conservative forum on your site a year ahead of the 2020 elections,” he added.
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