Is Reddit’s quarantine of r/The_Donald censorship?

Is Reddit's quarantine of r/The_Donald censorship?

For those of you who may not know, Reddit is a website that calls itself ‘the front page of the internet.’ It’s essentially a repository of message boards that discuss just about every subject imaginable broken down into what they call subreddits. For example, if you were to be a pro-wrestling fan then the subreddit called SquaredCircle is said to be the premier place to discuss sports entertainment with other fans on the internet. However, as with most internet communities, with the good comes the bad.

Reddit is also home to the largest group of supporters of President Trump. Their subreddit is known as ‘The_Donald’ and is said to be the largest subreddit on the site. This past Wednesday The_Donald was quarantined by Reddit. This means it was effectively suspended by the site. How long it will remain offline is unclear. The reason it was reportedly taken offline was that a number of the group’s members threatened violence against police.

Some users had apparently encouraged violence against law enforcement, angry that officials in Oregon were trying to bring back GOP state senators who fled the state to avoid voting on a climate-change bill.

This is not the first time that Reddit has had to quarantine or outright ban some of their more tasteless or controversial subreddits.

Since President Trump was elected there has been a theory among conservatives that social media outlets have been actively censoring conservative speech and ideas. Is this another instance of conservatives allegedly being silenced? To put it bluntly, no. First off, Reddit is a privately owned company and is free to choose what language it considers objectionable. Secondly, Reddit is not a branch of the government so your First Amendment Rights are not being violated. You are free to go to any other website that may tolerate such kind of speech. Lastly, even under the First Amendment, threats are not a form of protected speech. You may have heard the phrase ‘yelling fire in a crowded theater’. It’s a lot like that.

So maybe if the r/The_Donald’s members could have better behaved they wouldn’t have had these problems.