Censorship is becoming a very real problem on the internet these days. More and more platforms are taking an aggressive stance against shareable content. Reddit is making some very controversial decisions in this regard, as it recently shut down all darknet-related subreddits all of a sudden.
The End of r/Darknetmarkets
On the one hand, it is rather easy to justify the actions of Reddit when it comes to removing illegal content from its platform. Judging from its recent announcement, the company is taking a zero-tolerance stance toward drugs, firearms, sexual services, stolen goods, and so forth. Most people will gladly agree with this approach, as most of these topics should be avoided due to their illegal nature.
On the other hand, one has to acknowledge this is censorship in its purest form. Regardless of the illicit nature of the topics mentioned above, there is no reason to prevent people from thinking or talking about them. In fact, this decision by Reddit will push even more people to other platforms which can’t be actively monitored. Whether or not this was a smart decision remains to be determined, for obvious reasons.
One of the biggest communities to be affected by this recent development is the darknet community. Although the darknet has one of the worst reputations when it comes to illegal content and services, there was genuine interest in discussing these markets on Reddit. That is no longer a possibility, as anything related to the darknet has been removed from the platform and will not be coming back.
From a law enforcement perspective, this may not necessarily have been a good decision on the part of Reddit. After all, the darknetmarkets subreddit allowed everyone in the world to see which markets people were talking about, as well as the names of individual sellers and products being bought and sold on these platforms. That information is now gone from the public domain and can only be found within the bastion known as the darknet.
Additionally, it seems a lot of these discussions will now move to encrypted chatting solutions such as Telegram and Signal. Given the government’s stance against all of these services due to their end-to-end-encryption, it is evident this will spark a whole new set of debates. Censoring this type of information on Reddit is a decision that will have very large consequences down the line, and it may even spark more interest in darknet markets as a whole.
It is evident that Reddit is trying to cover all its bases by ensuring the platform cannot be linked to illicit content. At the same time, this approach to internet censorship is not a positive sign for the platform. It seems only a matter of time until other types of content will no longer be found on this platform. Whether or not Reddit will go after cryptocurrencies at some point remains to be determined. Anything seems possible at this point, unfortunately.