Reddit has found itself at the centre of controversy over users mentioning UK politician Aimee Challenor.
The popular UK politics subreddit, r/ukpolitics, briefly set itself to private after a moderator was banned for posting an article referencing Challenor. The subreddit re-emerged this morning with a statement explaining what had happened. The statement said that the moderator in question had been reinstated after an appeal to the Reddit admins, but asked users not to mention Challenor out of fear that they may be banned too.
The statement asserts that Challenor is an employee of Reddit, and Reddit has been banning people from discussing her.
Challenor was a parliamentary candidate for the Green party in 2017, during which time her father acted as her election agent. She was suspended from the party in 2018 when her father was jailed for 22 years for serious offences and it emerged he had been charged with those offences in 2016. She later joined the Liberal Democrat party, only to be suspended in 2019 due to tweets made by her husband’s Twitter account admitting to writing explicit fiction involving children.
Reddit has so far not made any comment, and discussions on the site regarding Challenor appear to be getting deleted.
A large number of popular subreddits have since been set to private by their respective moderators, in an apparent protest against Reddit’s handling of the situation. A message is being passed around Reddit to explain why subreddits have been made private. The message claims that one of Reddit’s employees supports abuse, though Challenor has not directly been implicated in any such situation and has not been charged with any such crime.