Side Note

Congress says jump, Reddit asks how high

The House and Senate passed a controversial bill yesterday that makes online platforms criminally and civilly responsible for the actions of their users. The same day, Reddit kicked off a wave of bans, shutting down many communities related to the sale of sex, drugs, and firearms.

DarkNetMarkets, a longstanding community of information about buying drugs on the deep web, was one of the first to go. Subreddits called BeerTrade, WeedDeals, CigarMarket, ScotchSwap, GunsForSale, AirsoftMarket, Shoplifting, Stealing, Escorts, Hookers, and many other communities related to similar topics were also shut down.

On Twitter, a moderator of a subreddit called SexWorkers posted a message from a Reddit administrator asking her to eliminate posts “that could facilitate the connection of sex sellers and sex buyers.” SexWorkers is currently set to private.

Reddit took down r/BeerTrade and several other innocuous subreddits because a new act passed Congress.

The bill, which is called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), has not yet been signed by President Trump. It has received widespread criticism from advocates who say it will likely result in a crackdown on internet freedom, without helping sex workers and other vulnerable people.

In a post yesterday, Reddit announced new rules banning the sale and giveaway of firearms, drugs, sexual contact, personal information, and falsified documents. The post did not mention FOSTA.

A Reddit spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jon Christian is a contributing writer forThe Outline.