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Why Was I Just Banned From Reddit's AMA Section?
A strange turn of events.

September 24, 2017

Topics = { Facebook }

I haven't posted an essay on my personal web site in three years. It seemed to me no one was listening.

That may be changing now. A Quora post I wrote about Facebook's origins has been viewed over 600,000 times. Then, on Friday night, I decided to try a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). The first time I had tried an AMA over a year ago, the Reddit moderator refused to list me on the calendar as Facebook's creator, and suggested the vague descriptor "technologist" instead. She claimed that I had no provable connection to Facebook—itself a provably false statement. Fortunately, the second time around on Friday, I didn't bother with the Reddit AMA calendar, and the discussion took off anyway, amassing almost 70,000 views in a day, reaching #3 on the AMA section, and engaging many participants.

That is, until Reddit banned me from the AMA section in the middle of my answering questions, with no notice. I can no longer respond to questions, which are still coming in, and the description of my credentials is gone. At first, there was no explanation given. Then, I was told that my trespass was highlighting Reddit's own history of refusing to acknowledge my role with Facebook. I had pasted in the moderator's messages to me from a year ago in response to a question (which someone later deleted), and since the past moderator's username was visible, I was accused of starting a "witch hunt."

This is a legitimate concern given Reddit's history, but if you read the subsequent posts, there is no evidence of any such witch hunt, nor did I ever suggest that there should be one. Once the explanation was given, I immediately edited the post (without being asked, and which the moderators themselves had not seen fit to modify despite their concerns) to remove the username in question. Furthermore, last year, the moderator in question identified herself as "a lawyer," presumably for Reddit, yet she did not assert any sort of confidentiality or privilege regarding her communications. I was told that actually, she is a volunteer who does not work for Reddit, which means that her lawyer credential—if it's even valid—was and is totally irrelevant to the situation. She could be a divorce attorney. She could be an immigration attorney. She could be lying; she never provided a name or bar number.

There is no rule against sharing moderator messages and communications from lawyers deserve special public scrutiny. Effectively, Reddit censored me in the middle of a discussion partly about censorship. I don't think they would have dared to do something like that to a celebrity. And it's an important discussion to have at this juncture in our political history.

Reddit is free to do what it wants. But the exchange I was having with people about Facebook's origins touches on important issues that have been on the front page of major newspapers all week. I'm in a unique position to shed light on them. I've e-mailed Reddit CEO Steve Huffman twice, and received no response. The moderators already told me that they won't respond further.

I'd like to be able to continue my discussion.

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1

darius
September 24, 2017 at 2:27 PM DT

Aaron,

Terribly sorry to hear it. This is just yet more proof that the internet is becoming a very high-walled-garden, and that that is a bad thing.

I've been having a lot of trouble getting traffic to my sites, my videos, my ideas. And when I do get that traffic from Reddit or Hacker News, that traffic is often highly negative WITHOUT supporting evidence to their claims.

So the Internet is becoming a place of hyper-moderation and echo chambering.

I wish you the best in finding a free and open location for your discussions, AS WELL AS a very large and robust audience to engage with.

When you find that, please let me in the loop too :)


2

hi
September 24, 2017 at 3:46 PM DT

i just read your AMA. maybe you can pick questions from the unfinished AMA and post answers here? Also have you considered suing reddit? use the discovery portion of the suit to get docs related to why you were banned after approval to do an AMA!


3

gazoo
September 24, 2017 at 5:15 PM DT

You should post a comment in a dead thread, low subscription sub (less than 6 months) with a link back to this page. So when people look at your profile...

I do that occasionally when I'm creating a table or using extra formatting and want to test how it's going to look.

Also, the Quora link was very well-written. I felt like I was living through it... It. Was. Discomforting.

Be well.


4

Nathaniel
September 24, 2017 at 6:51 PM DT

I certainly hope we can avoid your voice being buried in the white noise of constant inane content that seems to now dominate our lives. Please don't stop writing, you caught my attention and affected many of my opinions. Hopefully you can do the same for others.


5

Lisa
September 24, 2017 at 9:21 PM DT

Dear Aaron,

I had come across your AMA On Reddit the other day, and I felt it was a fascinating insight into what is only just now coming into the light about Facebook, and it's role in our past presidential election. These are things that people have guessed about, and have been worried about all along. It was refreshing to finally get to hear from someone who had been there at the start, and who has all along been trying to speak out.

I bookmarked it so that I could come back to read it later when I had more time. I finally got back to it today, only to find out you were somehow banned from posting. Weirdly, right after discussing all the ways you've tried to talk with the media, had interviews set up only to be walked out of the building.

I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that you need to keep talking. You have some of the most valuable insight to this right now, and should soon be a hot ticket to any show, and for endless news articles.

What Zuckerberg has done, and I also feel that Twitter is just as responsible for helping foment the propaganda, (I don't even know all the right words to think of as to what they've done. So many come to mind), is finally coming out to the light. Facebook, and Twitter are Houses of Cards finally getting ready to topple. Both companies have been hiding their true earning statements. They both have reasons to lie as to what the true count of membership of their sites are. I think they are hiding those numbers, and they are eventually going to be looking at securities fraud. They have to know the high percentage of users that are bots, and that those bots are artificially inflating the numbers.

I'm sorry if I got a bit side tracked. I'm just tired of having this info in my head, and thinking surely I'm not the only one that sees this. And I don't even have a degree from Harvard!

The next coming months Facebook is no longer going to be able to hide, and pretend that they had nothing to do with this. Please keep your voice out there. It's getting heard now. Finally. This is a real investigation, with a lot of real countries, with a lot of real foreign and national intelligence involved.

I'm at least going to start having hope. Good luck with everything. Keep going. Thanks!


6

Lisa
September 24, 2017 at 9:24 PM DT

P.S. Sorry I accidentally posted three times. I thought my math was bad. Ha.


7

John
September 24, 2017 at 11:55 PM DT

Aaron. Please keep doing what you do. I tried to find you on twitter but i couldn’t. Its obvious there’s something not right with facebook.


8

john
September 25, 2017 at 7:50 AM DT

I can't find any info on you when i do a google search or search for an interview on youtube. Is that because you live like a hermit and dont do any interviews or are there other reasons ? Have you done any podcasts ?


9

Will
September 25, 2017 at 8:39 AM DT

Facebook is cancer and zuck is a cuck


10

Zhuang Zi
September 25, 2017 at 3:57 PM DT

"Therefore it is said, “The perfect man
has no self, the holy man has no merit, the
sage has no reputation.”"

----------

"For thirteen years I've warned people as much as possible--harming my own reputation in the process--that he's a danger to society. At first I was ridiculed and made fun of and called a lot of names for doing so. Now, it's looking a little bit more reasonable to others I think."


11

Mark Zuckerberg
September 25, 2017 at 5:21 PM DT

"I don't think they would have dared to do something like that to a celebrity"

I remember the time when they removed Gabe Newell's AMA. Clearly the founder of Valve isn't a celebrity


12

jakub
September 25, 2017 at 5:58 PM DT

I enjoyed your AMA. Thank you for taking the time to answer those questions, even if moderators for known only to them reasons took it down.
Best of luck to you in future endeavors


13

YouDope
September 26, 2017 at 2:25 AM DT

"which the moderators themselves had not seen fit to modify despite their concerns"

You realize they can't do that, right? And if they did, it would be an absolute shit-storm (see: spezgiving).

Maybe learn how to use the site first? Reddit isn't that hard. You just fucked up. Have some personal accountability.

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