Voat, the main destination for the diaspora of disgruntled Redditors who left Reddit in protest at perceived censorship, has been dropped by its web host for “politically incorrect” content.
The Swiss Reddit clone, which has become the home of Redditors leaving their former haven in the wake of a crackdown on harassment, had its servers turned off without warning on Friday. A backup had been created on a cloud-based hosting platform just hours before so the site to allow it to remain online.
The site’s administrator and co-founder, Atko, asked why his site (as well as an unrelated personal blog on the same host) was deleted, and was told it was because of problems with the content.
He says his provider, hosteurope.de, told him that they cancelled his contract because “we have received significant information that the content on your server includes political incorrect parts that are unacceptable for us” and that they had to take action “due to the fact that we cannot keep bond of trust to you as our customer”.
Atko added that: “My eyes have been opened by this. I don’t know about you, but we are living in a weird world. We will have to carefully evaluate our long term options of providing a platform of free speech if we are to stay online. Your donations are what keeps us afloat.”
Amongst the banned subreddits were r/fatpeoplehate and r/hamplanethatred, which stood accused of harassing overweight people; r/transfags, which had reportedly “doxxed” trans people; racist subreddit, r/shitniggerssay; and r/neofag, which focused on mocking the community of a particular gaming forum.
According to Reddit, the subforums were banned for harassing behaviour, rather than simply problematic ideas, which is why other subreddits such as “r/coontown” (a moderator of which posted that “the only good nigger is a dead one” on the day of the Charlestown shootings) are still allowed on the site.
But many of the users who switched over to Voat argue that their issue is that Reddit’s ideal is not being applied consistently or transparently. They ask why those five subreddits were chosen and not other ones which exhibit similar behaviour, and whether it has to do with the “political leanings” of Reddit’s management – principally chief executive Ellen Pao.
Voat’s hosting provider, hosteurope, has not returned a request for comment.
This article was written by Alex Hern, for theguardian.com on Monday 22nd June 2015 10.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010