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Reddit removes technology from default subreddits following censorship row

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by Jamie Hinks
, 21 Apr 2014News
Reddit removes technology from default subreddits following censorship row

Reddit has removed technology from its list of default subreddits after a row over censorship left thousands of posts deleted and users furious.

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A post on the Daily Dot showed that any post containing one of around 50 words including “NSA,” “net neutrality,” and “Bitcoin” was secretly deleted from the r/technology subreddit by a secret bot that looked out for the words in headlines.

The move by Reddit means that the r/technology section will no longer be automatically added to the subscription page of new users and will be less visible to people that are visiting the service without registering.

Around two dozen topics are part of the default subreddits promoted to new users including “announcements,” “bestof,” “funny,” “gaming,” “news,” “music,” and a number of others.

Reddit user Creq was one of the first to notice the absence of a number of prominent and controversial topics and as such posted a list to Reddit around a week ago that cited words including "NSA", "GCHQ", "Anonymous", "anti-piracy", "Bitcoin", "Snowden" and "net neutrality".

The Daily Dot then questioned one of the volunteer moderators that runs the service, who confirmed that “politicised” words were being deleted automatically in order to avoid links being posted to certain topics.

“As many of you are aware the moderators of this subreddit have failed you. The lack of transparency in our moderation resulted in a system where submissions from a wide variety of topics were automatically deleted,” read an apology on the r/technology subreddit from the moderators.

The r/technology section is one of the most popular on the service, which calls itself “the front page of the Internet,” and moderators admitted to the BBC that the case was a “disaster.”

Image Credit: Flickr (laughingsquid)

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