A moderator on the popular site Reddit recently closed and deleted discussion threads deemed offensive, which discussed the attacks in Orlando and the issue of Islamic terrorism.
As John Brandon reports for Fox News, Reddit responded that the deletions were due to automated filters that aim to remove hate speech. Yet users have criticized the removal of the posts, seeing it as censorship.
Brandon quotes Danny Paskin, a professor at California State University, who stated that “Reddit has to make a choice: Does it want to truly be a forum for public exchange of information, or does it want to be a private company running under its own rules?”
As private companies, sites like Reddit and Facebook are free to set the terms of their use, including disallowing certain types of speech. However, to the degree that companies like Reddit do impose automatic filters on speech, they will limit the vibrancy of debate on their forums and cannot claim to hold freedom of expression as a core value.