Back on February 7th, 2018 Medium updated its policies regarding the content it allows on its site. The post on the site mentions that they will prohibit hate speech, harassment, disinformation, doxing, or targeted abuse. The new rules were followed by some high-profile account suspensions in the form of three well known Conservatives: Laura Loomer, Jack Posobiec, and Mike Cernovich.
One of the more standout updates to the policy is that your content on Medium can be censored or deleted based on what you post off-site. The policy update states…
“We do not allow posts or accounts that engage in on-platform, off-platform, or cross-platform campaigns of targeting, harassment, hate speech, violence, or disinformation. We may consider off-platform actions in assessing a Medium account, and restrict access or availability to that account.”
This was followed up with another post on Medium’s blog, where the staff explained to readers that they would be updating the rules and applying them effective immediately starting on February 7th, 2018. Not only that, but the post reiterates that off-site behavior can net you a permanent suspension from Medium’s services, where they state…
“Beyond Medium itself, we recognize that we are also part of the larger internet ecosystem. Just as we rely on outside technology, systems, and information to run Medium, we also consider off-platform signals when assessing potential rules violations.
“We have all seen an increase and evolution of online hate, abuse, harassment, and disinformation, along with ever-evolving campaigns of fraud and spam. To continue to be good citizens of the internet, and provide our users with a trusted and safe environment to read, write, and share new ideas, we have strengthened our policies around this type of behavior.”
This is identical to what Twitch.tv and Blizzard Entertainment are currently doing, where both companies are now policing off-site (or out-of-game) behavior and making actionable decisions based on that behavior. In the case of Blizzard, this means that making vitriolic comments or content on YouTube or what the company deems as “toxic” behavior can earn you a permanent ban from the game Overwatch.
Well, Medium didn’t waste any time applying the new rules to certain users. As reported by the site The Outline, Conservatives were the first high-profile targets of wide-sweeping censorship.
Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, and Laura Loomer not only had their accounts shut down but also their content was scrubbed from Medium.
For instance, the “How I Would Run For Congress” piece published by Mike Cernovich is no longer available for viewing, as the windowed tab states that the content is “Suspended”. The tweet leading to the article is still on Twitter, however.
I just published “How I Would Run for Congress” https://t.co/6e1cqhHZsB
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) February 13, 2018
As is usual with these kind of policy changes, Medium was unwilling to discuss with The Outline exactly what part of the content violated their rules that resulted in the suspension of the high-profile Conservative pundits. They opted to say they don’t discuss individual account suspensions.
Medium user Steven Sinclair wasn’t so keen to roll over and play dead. He directly confronted Medium on their actual post about the rule changes, writing…
“Why don’t you address the fact that under your regime, only Liberals are good citizens? They can spew hate all day long with your blessings in the form of front page highlights, or “Suggested” droppings in my inbox…
“The moment anyone pushes back against this one-way ideology they are swiftly dealt with! This comes in the form of a visit from the Medium Police, demanding the removal of any “offending” stories, along with the threat of the ever present Twitter/Medium loving shadow ban.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Twitter also enacted a similar policy, banning Conservatives and other groups they deemed “extremist” and “supremacist”.
There has been a concerted effort to stifle Conservative speech on many platforms operated or governed with Leftist policy. Despite protests and complaints from users, many of the tech companies continue to either censor their users or drive them away if they don’t adopt to regressive sociopolitical thought through the practice digital social re-engineering.
On the flip side, however, Conservative journalist Mike Cernovich has opted to sue Medium for a Civil Rights violation.
Why I’m Suing Medium for Civil Rights Violations (Unruh Act) https://t.co/9TpYfMVsXY
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) February 21, 2018
It will be interesting to see if Medium is willing to open up a dialogue or if they even have evidence or a reasonable argument to support their censorship of Conservatives.