Published on February 26th, 2014 | by Jason Louv2
When Reddit Shills Tried to Hide the Truth
Reddit goes hog-wild trying to censor Glenn Greenwald’s revelations that intelligence agencies are crafting and disrupting online discourse
Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald released what may be the most explosive document in the Snowden files—a GCHQ slideshow depicting tactics for destabilizing and destroying online discourse using trolling and related strategies, including bizarre slides urging GCHQ employees to become “Cyber Magicians” and employ psychology and Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques to break up online dissent.
Not surprisingly, the story was immediately killed at Reddit—and killed over and over again by the mods, until it finally slipped through the, ahem, “shill-net” to finally see the light of day. Reddit, which purports to follow a democratic model of information-sharing, where individual users can up-vote or down-vote specific stories, with the ones that are most up-voted receiving the most attention, has been known to be non-neutral ground since, I dunno… oh, right. Since the government came down hard on the guy who created it and he hung himself for raiding files from JSTOR, rather than face 35 years in prison. Major tell right there. Nudge nudge wink wink.
ZeroHedge covers the regular killing of the Greenwald GCHQ story at /r/news and /r/worldnews, with screenshots:
The moderators at the giant r/news reddit (with over 2 million readers) repeatedly killed the Greenwald/Snowden story on government manipulation and disruption of the Internet … widely acknowledged to be one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.
Similarly, the moderators at the even bigger r/worldnews reddit (over 5 million readers) repeatedly deleted the story, so that each new post had to start over at zero.
The story did, however, finally make it into the /r/worldnews and /r/news ecosystem, and finally shot to the very top of the /r/worldnews subreddit (my own article on the NSA’s Mexico installation, from VICE News, was hanging out in the #5 position). Once it made it to the front page, however, the “downvote brigade,” as Redditors (possibly shills or bots) who show up in droves to push controversial stories out of the limelight are sometimes called, quickly pushed it down.
Once Greenwald’s story made it to the top of /r/worldnews, however, commentors immediately started asking questions about why it had been suppressed.
Via a Redditor whose account has apparently been deleted, who also outs some of the shady tactics that have long been used to discredit the /r/conspiracy board:
Why is this story being removed from all the popular subs over and over by mods?
Message the admins about the censorship of this article by /r/news and /r/worldnews mods. They have never seemed to care about this in the past but if enough users message them it will hopefully at least provoke a response of some kind. Something needs to be done about this or this site needs to be abandoned as a platform for legitimate political discourse.
Important Update: So, it turns out that the /r/news mod /u/BipolarBear0 who has been deleting all the instances of this story has previously been caught running a voting brigade to get anti-Semitic content upvoted on /r/conspiracy to discredit the sub . A fact which he admitted to me in another thread just a few minutes ago (he claims he was doing an “experiment”…) . This guy needs to be banned from the site.
Over at /r/psychonaut, which is one of the few places on Reddit to get good information—outside of, ironically, the /r/conspiracy board, another Redditor breaks down a full list of the times the Greenwald article was pulled:
Via Redditor Alethios:
Compilation of all the times this story has been removed from Reddit:
Downvote brigade gearing up as the story rapidly slips down the rankings on the front page.
Confirms for me the causes behind the apparent slow decline of any genuine news on the front page (Celebrity Deaths, Olympic News and Natural Events aside). When was the last time we heard anything about Monsanto continuing to shit on people from a great height? When did we last hear about anything real really?
I suppose it’s pretty common knowledge by now that the mass media are little better than mouthpieces for the establishment. Now, we’re forced to conclude that the conversation online (particularly in the larger subreddits and websites) is just as badly manipulated.
Same tactics as those used against the counter-culture in the 60s, just on a wider scale.
If there was any remaining shred of naïveté left that intelligence and corporate authorities aren’t crafting and molding online discourse, I would hope you have now been disabused of it. I will note that the collective power of online interest in non-bullshit, however, tends to overwhelm shill and bot attacks, and this stuff always does make it into the public awareness despite all best efforts to the contrary. But how much of a toll does the great Distraction Machine—whether directly imposed by authorities, or by our own noisy online chatter and vapid sharing—take on the public mind? Quite a bit, I’d say, gauging by the number of freedoms we’ve lost in the last decade.
Keep sharing and upvoting the things that matter.