Reddit has refused an appeal from r/The_Donald, the website’s 700,000-plus member community of Trump supporters, to lift a “quarantine” that limits the reach and visibility of posts from the community. The refusal comes just a day after Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) sent a letter to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman about the platform’s bias.
The refusal was made public by the community’s moderators, just a day after Republican congressman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) sent a letter to Reddit’s CEO demanding the site correct its politically biased action, and condemning it for holding Trump-supporting Reddit users to higher standards of behavior than users of left-wing subreddits.
“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,” wrote Rep. Banks.
In their response to r/The_Donald’s appeal, Reddit appeared to give the Trump-supporting community an impossible task: regulate the behavior of its 700,000-plus userbase, not just on r/The_Donald itself, but across the entire website.
This is close to impossible for r/The_Donald’s moderators to achieve, because they can only take enforcement actions against users on their own community, not across the whole site.
According to Reddit, r/The_Donald cannot be removed from quarantine because its users “upvote violative content” at a “higher rate” than other Reddit communities.
We’ve been clear that we expect to see notable and sustained community transformation regarding reporting and downvoting behaviors. We once again measured this quantitatively over the 60 day appeal period, using the same methodology as at your last appeal, and which we use to evaluate all quarantined subreddits. Unfortunately, we did not see the required change in these measurements; yoursubscriberscontinue to upvoteviolativecontent at a significantlyhigherrate than subreddits of a similar size and topical focus to yours, in line with the figures we see in other quarantined subreddits, across the politicalspectrum.” (Please do note that we understand it can be frustrating that we can’t share this methodology with you. But given the fact that your subreddit is a frequent target of those who may disagree with you or the President politically, keeping the exact methodology confidential helps protect you against brigade attempts at gaming our statistics).
The Reddit admins do not explain how r/The_Donald’s moderators are expected to prevent this behavior from happening, a fact that the moderators were quick to point out.
“It seems clear that there can be no way to know what’s being asked of us,” wrote the moderator who published Reddit’s response.
“It seems to boil down to having a debate in which you prove your point with facts and evidence, and the other person counters with how they feel. They can’t tell us why they denied us, though, they just want us to stop doing that thing that they can’t tell us.”
Are you an insider at Reddit or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.