A popular subreddit relating to firearms called r/Gundeals was removed from Reddit on Wednesday along with a variety of similar forums including “r/AKMarketplace “and “r/GunsForSale.”
This sudden purge of gun-related online communities comes following a “New Addition to the site-wide rules” regarding transactions on the site.
The update made to r/announcements reads:
We want to let you know that we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain goods and services. As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services, including:
Firearms, ammunition, or explosives;
Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, or any controlled substances (except advertisements placed in accordance with our advertising policy);
Paid services involving physical sexual contact;
Falsified official documents or currency
Despite there being other, non-gun-related, communities effected by this policy change, some have speculated that this update is Reddit’s way of taking a stance on the ongoing gun debate that has been reignited by the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Users on reddit have had similar reactions to the move as well and some have pointed out that the policy seems to have affected communities relating to guns more severely than the other categories.
One user named u/mikegus15 replied to the announcement:
Okay, so lets ban:
/r/EntExchange/ (Literally drugs, whether you think it should be legal or not)
/r/BitMarket (“Fake” currency)
Do you now see how f-cking stupid this new rule change is? Or will you stand your ground for such an impulsive and idiotic decision?
Another user, u/AerinarLanius, said:
I get that guns don’t fit your agenda right now, and you have the freedom to do whatever you want with your platform, but me and the rest of people who are not criminals, but are sick of being treated like it, we’ll go somewhere else.
Another user, u/XavierVE noted that the popular subreddit r/Gundeals was not used to directly sell firearms between users on the platform, but it was only used to show users where they could get specific guns from legal, FFL registered dealers.
Banning r/gundeals is ridiculous. All it did was post links to deals from legal stores that sell firearms to FFL pickup locations. Same exact function as r/gamedeals or any other “deals” subreddit! Linking to sales on legitimate legal websites is a bannable offense? The f-ck?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
If you don’t get it — your policy is stupid.
I spoke with an avid user of the forum who goes by username u/ChadNationalist on Reddit to get his reaction on the recent changes. He responded:
I’ve been a Reddit user since 2010, I have watched the website go from a promising web forum to an echo-chamber riddled with censorship. Reddit users forget the days of 2013 when Reddit was furious at the Obama administration for the NSA leaks. The website fixates on identity politics, radicalizes leftists, and can only promote their leftist narrative through intense moderator censorship of right wing opinions. We are witnessing a digital book burning before our eyes.
A former moderator from the subreddit r/Gundeals has since made an announcement on behalf of their moderation team in response to the ban. In the statement the former mod, u/nauticalmile stated:
The (now former) /r/Gundeals moderation teams believes this assessment is unfair – /r/Gundeals was a subreddit for users to post/aggregate links to sales they found on third-party websites; transactions were not being conducted directly on the Reddit platform.
Unlike some other popular subreddits that were banned – some of which promoted exchange of illegal drugs, or alcohol or tobacco which would be illegal across state lines – /r/Gundeals was solely link-aggregation to third-party commercial vendors who conducted all transactions in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. While /r/Gundeals has been shut down, Reddit seems to take no issue with accepting payment and running advertisements for some of the same companies often linked on /r/Gundeals, nor has a problem with discussion of activities that are outright prohibited by U.S. federal law (see /r/Trees, /r/Drugs, etc.)
The announcement has since received over 12,000 comments in which most of the users express their frustration with Reddit’s new policy and the way it is being enforced.
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