Things That Matter

Reddit Deletes ‘r/The_Donald’ SubReddit For Violating Terms Of Use On The Platform

Social media platforms are under a lot of pressure to target and regulate hate speech. Major platforms like Facebook have remained defiant despite studies showing that Facebook algorithm regularly suggests people to and monetize hate speech content and groups. Reddit, one social media giant, just delivered a major victory in the fight against social media hate speech.

The infamous subreddit “r/The_Donald,” which celebrated President Trump, has been banned.

The group on Reddit had more than 790,000 members who supported, defended, idolized, and praised President Donald Trump. The thread was filled with memes, viral videos, and comments in support of the president and his actions. Reddit executives officially banned the thread for violating parts of its terms and conditions.

The purging of “r/The_Donald” is part of a larger purging of political threads that violate hate speech terms and conditions.

“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters, according to The New York Times. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”

According to The New York Times, Reddit banned 2,000 threads spanning the political spectrum. One of the other groups is “r/chapotraphouse,” which is known for being an extreme socialist group driving people to Bernie Sanders. Chapo Trap House has gone so far as to release a manifesto specifically for anyone who feels alienated.

The subreddit is responsible for some of the most dangerous and debunked conspiracy theories in recent history.

In 2016, an insidious conspiracy theory spread through social media about a pedophile ring in Washington D.C. The pedophile ring was allegedly organized in the basement of a local pizza place and referred to as Pizzagate. However, the pizza place accused does not have a basement. Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory grew and spread until one man showed up armed with guns threatening the employees and patrons.

“r/The_Donald” users were angered by Reddit’s decision to take down a thread promoting the debunked conspiracy theory. Many claimed that Reddit was censoring the group trying to peddle the false story.

The removal of the subreddit is welcomed news to some.

According to The New York Times, Reddit executives had no option but to shut down the thread due to noncompliance. Officials for the social media platform had allegedly engaged with moderators of “r/The_Donald” to regulate users to adhere to terms and conditions.

“We’ve given them many opportunities to be successful,” Huffman told The New York Times. “The message is clear that they have no intention of working with us.”

READ: Reddit Sleuths Are Taking A User To Task For Posting An AMA About Supposedly Meeting His PenPal After 15 Years

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Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Things That Matter

Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Parler, the alt-right social media platform, is back in business. Of course, the app is not supported by American companies. The app is now running all of its information through Russian servers.

Parler is running again thanks to the help of Russian servers.

Parler faced quick discipline after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The social media platform was one of the key tools organizers of the riot used to organize and mobilize. Amazon, Apple, and Google all stopped carrying Parler, essentially ending the social media platform’s ability to keep running. Parler tried to sue Amazon Web Services to pick up the app again to allow it to continue but a judge ruled against the platform.

“The court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein wrote in the order. “At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case.”

The Russian-backed servers are only providing partial support but it’s a slippery slope.

Parler has hired DDoS-Guard, is a Russian digital infrastructure company that threw the platform a lifeline. While the server is only providing a defense against denial-of-service, critics are concerned that it still poses a significant risk. All of the traffic on Parler is going through those servers leaving the users vulnerable to Russian surveillance.

“Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” reads Parler’s current homepage. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential … We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon.”

DDoS-Guard has a history of working with racist and far-right groups.

CEO John Matze is confident that the app will be fully restored by the end of January. The social media app has been banned and dropped from major American tech companies after the insurrection. Amazon will not restore the app but the app has said that they retrieved their info from Amazon.

READ: Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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