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Is Reddit censoring The Spectator?

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What's going on over at Reddit? The popular chatroom, which bills itself as 'the front page of the internet', has been accused of blocking Spectator articles. Earlier this week, the most popular UK politics page was suspended from public view and users who posted a link to a Spectator article were blocked.

The article in question mentions one Aimee Challenor, a former ‘rising star’ of the Green party and transgender activist, who left the party in disgrace after she appointed her father — a violent paedophile — as her election agent.

According to the moderators on the Reddit group r/UKPolitics, Aimee has since been hired by the tech firm, which is now zealously blocking content about her. One Redditor who posted a Spectator article containing a brief mention of Challenor found themselves mysteriously 'suspended’ from Reddit.

That user was subsequently reinstated after r/UKPolitics raised concerns with the tech company. As the moderators put it, 'It later became apparent that Reddit has hired this individual as a Reddit admin, and were banning people from discussing her past to protect their employee from harassment.' Mr S put the allegations to Reddit — that Challenor is now working at the company and using her position to have unfavourable articles removed. Their spokesperson told me: 

Earlier this month, a Reddit employee was the target of harassment and doxxing (sharing of personal or confidential information). Reddit activated standard processes to protect the employee from such harassment, including initiating an automated moderation rule to prevent personal information from being shared.

The moderation rule was too broad, and our systems suspended a moderator who posted content that was perceived to include personal information. After investigating the situation, we reinstated the moderator the same day. We are continuing to review all the details of the situation to ensure that we protect users and employees from doxxing — including those who may have a public profile — without mistakenly taking action on non-violating content.

Was the censorship purely automatic or did Challenor play a role in Reddit's removal of damaging information about her? The article itself, by Julie Bindel, only mentions her in passing. Whatever 'systems' Reddit was using seem to have removed any link to that article and banned the person who posted it. Mr S has some doubts over whether it really was the 'system' that was doing the deleting and blocking...

It is worth mentioning too just how disturbing the allegations about Aimee and her father are. Back in 2018, she quit the Greens after it emerged she had hired her father, David Challenor, as her election agent despite the fact he been charged with 22 sexual offences. These charges included the rape and torture of a 10-year-old girl, something Aimee neglected to tell the party. The details of that abuse are horrific; they include the child being suspended from the attic rafters as Aimee's father — dressed in a nappy — carried out his sadistic sexual crimes. 

Was the censorship purely automatic or did Challenor play a role in Reddit's removal of damaging information about her?

He was jailed for 22 years after being found guilty of 20 of those 22 offences. Aimee subsequently quit the party and accused the Greens of transphobia against her. At the time she said: 

I cannot be held responsible for the actions of my father. I am not to blame for his behaviour. Yes, he was my election agent. This was one of a number of ways I was seeking to reconcile my relationship with my father after coming out of care. On reflection, I can understand that it was unacceptable for me to appoint my dad as my election agent when he had been arrested. 

She then briefly joined the Coventry Liberal Democrats — and was promptly suspended by Lib Dem head office after yet another paedophile scandal. A social media account belonging to her partner, Nathaniel Knight, admitted to having written 'smut featuring minors’, among other sordid horrors. The unfortunate Aimee condemned the messages, saying her partner’s account had been hacked and announcing she was quitting politics. 

Mr S has attempted to get in contact with Aimee but to no avail. In the meantime, anyone looking to know more about her past behaviour can read this piece by Melanie McDonagh — or you can read the offending Julie Bindel article here...

What's going on over at Reddit? The popular chatroom, which bills itself as 'the front page of the internet', has been accused of blocking Spectator

The article in question mentions one Aimee Challenor, a former ‘rising star’ of the Green party and transgender activist, who left the party in disgrace after she appointed her father — a violent paedophile — as her election agent.

Now read on...

Written by

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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