- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2016

The news aggregator website Reddit bills itself as a bastion of free speech, but on Sunday its users were stunned at the volume of moderators who blocked threads on the Orlando, Florida, massacre.

Pulse Nightclub was attacked early Sunday by 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others. Mateen was killed by a SWAT team that stormed the building to save hostages. The suspect reportedly called 911 prior to the rampage to announce his allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS.

Reddit users who tried to discuss the security guard’s ties with ISIS were often banned while entire threads were shut down.

“Now that I think about it, this might be the biggest purging I’ve ever seen on Reddit,” one user wrote in the website’s r/news thread on Sunday.

“This isn’t just some typical drummed up hysteria by users of this website, they are actually censoring details about who did it. They might as well be defending the man. Disgusting,” another added.

One moderator even replied to criticism with “kill yourself.”

The company seemingly stripped the individual of his editorial privileges, Heat Street reported Monday.

Reddit administrators eventually issued a statement as anger spread throughout the community.

“Reddit gives moderators a great deal of freedom to operate their subreddits how they feel is appropriate. In a rapidly emerging and volatile situation, a number of things can happen: sometimes new moderators get blindsided, small teams get overwhelmed, or tired and frustrated mods make bad choices. I want you to know that the admins are aware of the concerns that have been expressed,” the statement read.

“Right now, I simply ask everyone to be patient and to give the admins and the entire /r/news moderator team a chance to talk privately and investigate what happened. Regardless of your feelings on the decisions made, everyone involved is (to my knowledge) a human. A little respect and compassion go a long way.”

Heat Street noted that only the Donald Trump subreddit offered open discussion on the terror attack for the duration of the news cycle.

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