Reddit Co-Founder Killed Himself Due to Government Censorship and Harassment … In His Honor, Can Reddit Stop Censoring?

Aaron Swartz

Stop Censorship

Reddit co-founder and free speech activist Aaron Scwartz killed himself due to government censorship and harassment.  (He was probably clinically depressed and apparently committed suicide; no one is alleging that he was murdered.)

Aaron developed RSS, created the architecture for the Creative Commons licensing system, helped lead the charge against SOPA and other Internet censorship attempts, and fought passionately for free speech and the use of the Web as a force for good.

In his honor, can Reddit stop censoring?  As we noted last month:

Reddit [is] censoring.

I’m not talking about censoring specific websites (For example, I was informed today that Reddit’s News category censors all stories from this website.  But that’s just an example).  I’m talking about censoring entire categories of news media.

Specifically, Reddit’s WorldNews category has 2.5 million subscribers.  Most tv news shows have less than 2.5 million daily viewers. So that means that Reddit’s WorldNews is itself a mainstream media source in terms of numbers.  And many more people see WorldNews stories on the front page of Reddit, even if they are not subscribers to the WorldNews subreddit.

(Reddit is owned by the 46th largest company in the United States – Advance Publications – which owns a number of mainstream newspapers and magazines.)

Yet WorldNews censors blogs, and doesn’t consider them real news sources.  Here’s a discussion I had recently with WorldNews moderators:

Clipboard02 Biggest Social Media Sites Censor Alternative NewsIn fact, the top independent experts in every field – economics, business, foreign affairs, military, science, energy, etc. – have their own blogs, making blogs one of the best sources of information, a good way to fact-check the mainstream news, and the best way to read the experts’ insights direct and unfiltered.  See this, this and this.

Indeed, the whole reason that news blogs have become popular is that they get around the censorship which is ubiquitous in the mainstream television news. And social media is popular as a news source – especially among youth – because it pretends that it provides uncensored news, where a free market of popularity governs.

That’s obviously not the case, where specific websites – and entire classes of media, such as blogs – are barred.

Reddit holds itself out as a young, hip, progressive news source.  But if it is censoring blogs, it fails to live up to any of these claims.

The government already censors and manipulates social media. More proof here and here.

It is sad that the moderators of the social media sites themselves are doing the same thing.

In honor of Aaron, can Reddit start honoring the right to free speech … and stop censoring?

Update …  This post was censored by the politics subreddit almost immediately after posting:

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  • Captain Cannabis

    Quite a few are alleging that he was murdered.

  • Life


  • truth

    knew too much

    • PatGinSD

      And was too effective

  • John P. Farish

    Wait wait wait. There is a difference between freedom of speech and being allowed to post whatever in any subreddit. The reasons the rules for /r/worldnews are what they are is because the people that subscribe to that subreddit are looking for particular things: reliable news source, and nothing in U.S. of American Politics.

    It is perfectly fine for a moderator of /r/worldnews to filter blogs, regardless of what President Obama said about them because of the nature of the subreddit and what its constituents want it to be.

    Conversly, /r/anythinggoesnews is any sort of news, including blogs such as this. You’re freedom of expression is not hindered, but more correctly categorized for readers.

    Also, reddit does actively censor certain media. Most notably with shutting down /r/jailbaitafter it received negative nation-wide(USA) press. There would be many people arguing against your suggestion to bring that back, but I would support you in that I am categorically against freedom of speech and expression in all its forms.

    Your article is currently unhindered in /r/anythinggoesnews:

    Where it is correctly categorized. Best of luck and take care! Also, if you honestly believe this to be a problem with /r/worldnews, I think you can put a [meta] tag up and ask for the community to vote to change the restriction on blogs.

  • Griffon

    Doesn’t help your case, Wash-blog, to post tripe about the moon being a hollow spaceship and filled with lizards.

    Your own ‘news filter’ might want a retooling before you’re viewed as more credible.

    • whut?

      What are you jabbering about Mctrollerson? When does this blog post stuff like that?

      • No, this is correct

        Well, I did a little digging – On Jan 1st a guest poster was allowed to post a seemingly well researched David Icke advert.

        I agree with Griffon, it would be like the NYTimes just started carrying stories from Nat’l Enquirer. While a bit of outside perspective could help the NY Times, no doubt, it wouldn’t be prudent just to run filth from the likes of David I¢ke.

  • Matt Fisher

    I just landed here after clicking a link in /r/conspiracy.

  • gozounlimited

    What a beautiful young man …..

    MIT Investigating School’s Role In Aaron Swartz Suicide

    “Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT.”

    read more:

  • Eyes open

    People who are willing to face persecution for standing up for what is right don’t usually hang themselves. He shouldn’t have talked about the WH secret kill list. Not smart with NDAA Better to be a costs and shut up. RIP Brother.

  • needmoartime

    hitler committed suicide in his bunker.. ( allegedly ) – he was just misunderstood

    in his honour, can we finish the job of the jews..- the jews are really bad

  • needmoartime

    lol – talk about censorship… my comment was here for two seconds!

    • needmoartime

      i blame discus

  • needmoartime

    all my comments are disappearing

  • Tradias

    Blogs may occasionally be accurate, but a lot of the time they are not. The problem with that is that a lot of people can’t tell the difference and take things at face value without doing any research. This sets us up for self-perpetuating disinformation. All they’re trying to do is maintain the credibility of the subreddit. If somebody wants their blog posted, then perhaps they should check with the mods themselves about being allowed through the filter on a case by case basis.

    • Christian Cawley

      The problem with that view point is that the so-called mainstream media is just as guilt of intentionally perpetuating disinformation.

      • Griffon

        The difference is, of course, the MSM can pay (and is paid) to catapult it rather than using the occasion of a brave young man’s death to shill their own blog.

        • Christian Cawley

          True, but not the point of the comment I was replying to.

    • Kevin S. Van Horn

      The mainstream media may occasionally be accurate, but a lot of the time they are not. The problem with that is that a lot of people can’t tell the difference and take things at face value without doing any research.

  • jo6pac
  • amerikagulag

    It would probably be better to title the article ”

    “Reddit Co-Founder Died Because…..” rather than ‘killed himself’. Like the 911 story, there are too many holes for it to hold water.

  • Dutch

    Is the idea of just not going to Reddit ever again so revolutionary? I’ve never been there once.

    Every person who joins the liberty movement struggles with this same dilemma. As soon as they start seeing and doing things, they want to have them validated by the same old machinations that have been deceiving people the whole time. I get that Reddit has a big traffic numbers and thus great control over what people get what news. But who gives an F? Let them censor all they want. Keep in mind that most people come to this cause typically don’t do so until after the MSM, government, doctors, etc, fail them fantastically and in such in a personal and hurtful way that it makes them forsake everything they once believed. Likewise few people will be steered to this movement simply because Reddit gives a few random blog posts some real estate on their pages.

    As I see it let Reddit keep doing what they’re doing. The old guard MSM is dying a tragic death right in front of us, and nobody wants to do anything but watch with anticipation. If Reddit wants to hitch their anchor to that sinking ship, far be it for any liberty advocate to stop them. What they will do to themselves will be far worse than anything any individual blogger can do. Just sayin’…


    Assisted suicide ? Anyone diagnosed with clinical depression is in danger of assisted suicide if they know what they shouldn’t know and talk about it.