According to former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, deplatforming works. Pao, who became infamous for her pro-censorship policies when she was Reddit’s CEO, said that in response to a study that found that conservative groups’ popularity decreased when they were deplatformed on mainstream platforms such as YouTube.
“Deplatforming hate works,” Pao wrote on Twitter. “It worked on reddit in 2015, and now it’s working on YouTube.”
Her tweet was a reply to another tweet containing a link to a study that found out that “deplatforming is effective in minimizing the reach of far-right channels like Alex Jones & cannot be compensated on alternative platforms.”
Pao was Reddit’s CEO for a few months, between November 2014 and July 2015. During her brief tenure, she earned the nickname “Chairman Pao” for her strict pro-censorship policies that changed the culture of the platform.
There was backlash over what users saw as her dismantling Reddit’s commitment to free speech. Moderators on user-run communities even staged boycotts, dubbed “Reddit Revolt.”
Even after leaving the platform, Reddit never got back to what it once was, a platform that once welcomed and encouraged wide-ranging free speech. For instance, in 2020, the platform removed The_Donald, which was one of the largest pro-Trump communities on the internet.