“People need to realize that censorship doesn’t have to involve some grand conspiracy,” stated the Anti-Media’s editor-at-large, S.M. Gibson.

(The Pontiac Tribune) — Reddit just killed the news.

More specifically, the jarringly Orwellian moderators of the Reddit /r/news board killed it in broad daylight wielding the same, iniquitous censorship more typical of the government than a social network.

And it appears we have a serial killer on our hands.

California Water Shortage & the Nestle Scandal

A Reddit user shared the Anti-Media’s latest article in an ongoing series on the Nestle scandal involving California water drawn from the San Bernardino National Forest using a permit that expired during the Reagan Years.

In less than six hours from the time it was originally shared, the article — and thus the issue of Nestle’s contentious water-bottling in the state during emergency drought conditions — was being upvoted by nearly 500 Reddit users per minute.

“It’s hard to say why Reddit pulled the article from the front page, but what is clear is that it was wrong for them to do so,” explained Anti-Media founder, Nick Bernabe.

Reddit is supposed to be a ‘pseudo-free speech zone’ so it’s not really clear why a relevant news story was pulledIt is always possible that Nestle and Reddit’s parent company, Conde Nast, have some sort of financial ties that caused them to pull it down for PR reasons. Regardless, I’m glad the Reddit’s users find the information that we are uncovering about Nestle useful, even if their mods and higher ups don’t want it to be seen.”

People need to realize that censorship doesn’t have to involve some grand conspiracy,” stated the Anti-Media’s editor-at-large, S.M. Gibson.

“It’s as simple as someone saying a certain piece of information sheds a negative light on their brand and could cost them a lot of money. They pick up the phone, and poof, the info is gone. Corporations are intertwined and survive by a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ mentality. People live in this delusion that if it’s not being reported by corporate media, than it didn’t happen. Well, who do you think are the ones censoring the info? Do you think they are actually going to report about how they help their advertiser’s bad press magically disappear? No, of course not. It’s time the masses stop lying to themselves and acknowledge that we currently live in a world propped up by secrecy and censorship.

Independent media had once again catapulted from seeming obscurity to occupy the #3 slot on the coveted /r/news front page — ahead of such old press mainstays as the Washington Post, the L.A.Times, and NBC News. 

Related: How Nestle Got the Green Light for Arrowhead Springs With $524 & Circa 1984 Permit

Claire Bernish, who wrote the article, described what happened next:

“I’m actually a Reddit novice, but a coworker at the Anti-Media told me the Nestle piece had garnered serious attention on a reputable news board there. By the time I checked the post five minutes later, it was already starting to go viral. I was refreshing the page every time it finished loading completely — and the upvotes were going up by the hundreds each time.

“The last upvote total I saw was 5,773.  I refreshed the page, but this time, the article was gone. I mean, vanished. I enlisted friends and coworkers to double-check since Reddit was completely foreign to me. We found the article had, in fact, been completely removed from the /r/news board — not just the front page — censored.”

Though several people questioned moderators, the answers were both long in coming and contradictory.One journalist ended up being banned from /r/worldnews for reposting the Nestle article — essentially due to moderators’ determination of it as an opinion piece.

Listen Now: Nestle Water Scandal: Claire Bernish Interviewed by James Corbett

According to a Reddit moderator of /r/worldnews:

“You’ll need to follow our rules. The submission you made was an opinion piece and we only permit straight news articles. Your ban may be lifted in a week’s time if you can agree to abide by the rules in the future, and you reply to this message chain. Let us know if you can take us up on that,” said Isentrope.

Remember that serial-killing of information mentioned earlier?

Moderator “creq” explained, “You’re dealing with /r/news. They censor all sorts of stuff. I exposed them a while back for it but since this is coming from the top mod over there, I doubt you can do much else other than expose their censorship again.”

Reddit’s increasing examples of censorship were the basis for the subreddit: /r/undelete. When asked what should be the next step after being silenced so abruptly, creq replied: “What I can say right now though is that you’re going to first want to get the word out on Reddit in places like /r/undelete. I grew that sub from around 30 people. That’s where people discuss censorship .

In answer to queries for what, exactly, caused moderators to yank the Nestle article from the /r/news front page, the majority of the /r/undelete users explained it was considered “old news” because the statistics cited had first made headlines in March. 

“I couldn’t shake the feeling we’d hit a nerve — I mean, there wasn’t even an attempt to disguise such flagrant censoring of information that, with 97% upvoting, people were clearly interested in. Censorship is an issue I constantly speak out about and warn against — unfortunately, I’m now able to speak from personal experience.”

Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Attacked by Internet Trolls:

In the battle for the Internet, the power of humanity to overcome hate gives me hope. I’m rooting for the humans over the trolls. I know we can win.

Last month a petition calling for Reddit’s former Chief Executive Ellen Pao to resign collected well over 200,000 signatures before she finally quit. In a message posted to Reddit last month former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong criticized the social network for pressuring its own CEO Ellen Pao into restricting free speech.

Wong claimed that co-founder Alexis Ohanian, along with several high-ranking Reddit moderators, had also pressured her to ban large sections of the website when she was CEO of Reddit from March 2012 until his resignation in November 2014.

According to the Telegraph the former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong claimed that:

  • Reddit’s founders did not want the site to be a home of free speech, and encouraged aggressive censorship.
  • The board had pressured Pao to ban hosts of subreddits, which she had resisted.
  • Co-founders Huffman and Ohanian, back in charge, would claim the moral authority to purge large sections of the website.

In a video response to a Nestle spokesperson’s statement the company’s top priorities are ostensibly consumers, the environment, and the human right to water.

Yet Nestle Chairman and former CEO, Peter Brabeck, claimed the exact oppositeliterally stating that water is not a human right — just two years ago.

About the author

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  1. football

    It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this topic, but you
    sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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  6. Jeremy Brown

    What I took away from this article was a broad-spray and somewhat misleading attack on Reddit as a site, which really surprised and disappointed me coming from the Pontiac Tribune of all places. I agree that censorship from mods is a problem in some of the subs on Reddit, and it is perfectly legitimate and right to point out that problem and spur discussion concerning it. But the language of the article heavily blurs the lines between the mods, who are private users of the site, and Reddit itself as company and a website. I’ve been a Redditor for nearly two years, I’m decently versed in how the site works, and even I had to read through the article several times in order to properly understand what it was saying. To someone who is much less familiar with Reddit, it could be very misleading on some important distinctions. I’m also not sure what you meant by “rather obviously, use of the word Reddit to represent the experience, not the details.” But nothing about it seems rather obvious to me.

    I’m not trying to attack you or start a fight here. The Pontiac Tribune has done great work and I like you guys. I guess that’s all the more reason why I’m shocked by this and feel the need to say something. Perhaps I’m the one who is misunderstanding things, but from where I stand it looks like the facts of the situation are being blurred in this article. And I’m not even saying that it was deliberate, just that it seems to be so. I don’t think I’d be in the right not to point it out when I see it. Intellectual integrity is too important when you are trying to change a world that has been fed fat with lies, rhetoric, and propaganda by the MSM.

  7. René Ferreira

    Nestlé is not only stealing water. It is actively involved in deforestation in Indonesia for oil they use in their products. Greenpeace has been running blogs about them for some time now!

  8. Ann May

    They do the same thing in Florida! I wonder how many other states. People should not buy this water but they don’t know.

  9. Claire S Bernish

    Yes, it was posted on other subs and was taken down. Yes, I am aware that mods don’t work for reddit. Mods on many boards were actually questioned about their opinion on what happened. And, rather obviously, use of the word Reddit to represent the experience, not the details.

    But out of everything in this article, is this what you took away?

  10. Jeremy Brown

    So, it wasn’t Reddit that killed this article, it was the mods of /r/news and /r/worldnews. Am I right about this? You do know that the mods do not work for Reddit, but are just users who started the subs, right? Have you tried posting it on other subs? They have a lot of news subs out there. Please correct me if I’m mistaken in my understanding of this.

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