29 Comments

  1. Benjamin Hansen
    · Reply

    seems like a clear violation of the widely accepted standard of inciting violence or harm to others. also, sounds like it was part of a pattern and the straw that breaks the camel’s back situation for wp.com.

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  2. Marcus Tibesar
    · Reply

    So after 10 years the site is now suddenly censored. This is another obvious attack on Conservatives.

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  3. DJ Johnny Medley
    · Reply

    Interesting debate. As of now, Treehouse has more than 1,830 comments… The “pop corn” has been popped and the WP “Kool-Aid” is flowin’ over here. I’ll have to re-read Section 5 several times…at half-speed…just like in music, LOL. Happy Thanksgiving to the Tavern crew and…WordPress-4-Life!

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  4. Corey Salzano
    · Reply

    I don’t have a fully formed opinion about tech companies de-platforming, but I also can’t name a single liberal persona or website that’s been given the boot. I don’t like what I see on that website, but these reasons are flimsy as hell.

    Section 5 forbids websites covering the President of the United States, who has been sharing electoral conspiracy theories lately. CNN isn’t being kicked out, their logo is on the WP VIP home page.

    Sad that WordPress.com couldn’t link to examples of the calls to violence they claim they found “consistently.” We all know sharing a few links to infringing content with the site owner would be effortless.

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  5. Illya King
    · Reply

    WordPress.com is owned by Automattic. It is NOT a public U.S. institution. So I don’t understand the censorship claim. There is nothing to stop Treehouse from finding hosting, download/install WP, and migrating to their new hosting account.

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  6. Ryan Hellyer
    · Reply

    It’s nice to see that they’re at least polite and helpful to sites pushed off their platform. And since it’s WordPress, they’ll have no difficulties in finding somewhere to migrate it to.

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  7. Miroslav Glavic
    · Reply

    This isn’t really de-platforming.

    First of all, we all agree to the TOS (Terms of Service) of every site we sign up for. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress.com, Parler, Gab, etc…we all agreed to the TOS. Even though we did not read the TOS.

    Platforms don’t have to even give you a warning if they don’t feel like it. The fact that WordPress.com gave them a warning, they are lucky.

    Also, free speech (US), freedom of expression (Canada) and whatever else for other countries, only applies to between you and the government. Not private entities.

    Don’t break the rules?

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  8. Matt
    · Reply

    This is a clear violation of the WordPress terms of service. It shouldn’t be news, but alas…here we are in 2020. Good on them for helping with the migration even while the views of the publisher are abhorrent.

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  9. Rob
    · Reply

    It is troubling to see this. It’s the kindling to a virtual book burning so to speak. It’s not at horrifying levels yet, but when “silence is violence” and everything that challenges the “accepted” view is labeled dangerous conspiracy theory, how long until full blown censorship becomes normal? When terms of service can be changed freely at will and rules are vague it doesn’t give a lot of confidence to the “don’t break the rules” narrative. Watching people cheer this on while still believing they are the good guys feels insane. If your views are so righteous and just why must you insist on silencing all those who oppose you? History has shown this doesn’t end well. It is your enemies today; tomorrow it could be you.

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    • Mike Schinkel
      · Reply

      What is really troubling is the level of misinformation sites like this publish which results in a major amount of division and disunity across these “United” States.

      “American will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” — Abraham Lincoln

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      • Chip Bennett
        · Reply

        With all due respect, Mike, “misinformation” is not listed as a violation of the ToS. Whether the site does or does not engage in publishing “misinformation” is irrelevant.

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      • Rob
        · Reply

        Misinformation is an absurd claim when speaking of political beliefs. All this means is one side doesn’t like what the other thinks and labels it “wrong”. Then uses that to justify censoring them. Funny you use that quote while being seemingly okay with nearly half the country being labeled “misinformed” and being told they need to find somewhere else to be.

        As far as “incorrect news” goes, I would be shocked to find even one outlet that isn’t guilty of that in some way.

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      • Peter Shaw
        · Reply

        Having read the article, I could find plenty of opinions I disagreed with and plenty of non mainstream views.

        But nothing that was clearly factually wrong. As other commenters have said silencing views you disagree is a slippery slope

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  10. Chip Bennett
    · Reply

    So, having established that The Conservative Treehouse engages in speech and ideology with which some disagree, the article doesn’t actually establish any evidence that the site violated the wp.com TOS.

    The real irony here (note: I don’t think the Tavern is hosted on wp.com; I’m merely making a point) is that this post violates the wp.com TOS more, and more explicitly, than The Conservative Treehouse.

    ToS:

    Posting private information.
    Don’t share someone’s personal information without their consent.

    The article doxxes the owner of The Conservative Treehouse, who chooses to use a pseudonym and to remain anonymous. To my knowledge, Sundance has never confirmed his reported identity, nor consented to being referred to as the identified person.

    As for the alleged “call to violence” cited by the Automattic rep, the ToS in question:

    Calls to violence.
    We prohibit content that incites, encourages, threatens, or promotes acts of violence against individuals or groups of people…

    An image of a knife with the word “resist” on it does not represent an act of violence against any individual or group of people.

    We also remove content that glorifies acts of violence or its perpetrators…

    An image of a knife with the word “resist” on it does not glorify any particular act of violence or perpetrator.

    This does not mean that we will remove all hyperbolic or generally offensive language.

    At worst, an image of a knife with the word “resist” on it falls squarely under “hyperbolic or generally offensive”.

    There is no reasonable argument that this action is anything other than subjective, capricious, and in response to political speech with which wp.com disagrees.

    Yep; that is their right (though a very reasonable argument for breach of contract could be made), and I understand that site/data migration is in process as we speak.

    There is a difference between governmental protection or censorship of speech, and generally supporting freedom of speech. This is not a matter of censorship. It is, however, an exposure of rank hypocrisy in a community that espouses the principles behind free as in freedom and democratizing publishing.

    The most telling – and most disappointing – aspect of this occurrence is seeing both the action, and the community reaction, with respect to support of freedom – the very thing on which both WordPress and the WordPress community are ostensibly built upon.

    Apparently, it is a lie – or, at the very least, it appears to be. Here’s where the rubber meets the road, WordPress community. Do you support freedom of speech for all speech – even (and especially) speech with which you disagree? Or do you only support freedom of speech for speech with which you agree?

    Thankfully, there are some in the community still willing to speak up. I thank and appreciate you, and I hope your voice ultimately prevails.

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    • Urban
      · Reply

      I support companies being able to choose who they do business with, Chip.

      Why do you support limiting that freedom, Chip?

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      • Chip Bennett
        · Reply

        You should try re-reading my comment. I explicitly stated that severing business ties with The Conservative Treehouse was Automattic’s right.

        I have no problem with Automattic severing ties with The Conservative Treehouse; I have a problem with them doing so under false pretense. They should own up to their true justification.

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  11. Prometheus Fire
    · Reply

    There is nothing troubling about this at all. WP.com is a paid service and they are choosing not to do business with this publisher. The WP ecosystem, of which WP.com is a very small part, is a robust market of ideas and it truly does, “democratize publishing.” Anyone who is claiming censorship, and de-platforming here is just revealing their ignorance.

    This is WordPress, the content is portable. Move it and move on. Automattic staff helps with migrations all the time, and they do good work there. There is no conspiracy here, just a business decision and an operational obstacle that is easily overcome.

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    • Peter Shaw
      · Reply

      I’m uncomfortable with some of the ideas expressed but I really can’t how an image of a knife violates the TOS.

      Automattic should admit the decision is political and that they are biased. There current stance though is based on a lie.

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  12. Dōvy Paukstys
    · Reply

    I think the more organizations like WP.com “push” people off, the more polarized the nation will become. Say this was a blog promoting gay marriage in the era of Prop 8. I can’t recall anyone getting pushed off a network for having that conflicting view.

    There is such a cancel culture occurring which is only going to lead to extreme unrest and potentially civil war. Rather than providing such “mis-information sites” more fuel for their fire, how about becoming friends of the authors and persuading instead! Until we can learn to debate and reason CIVILY I don’t see great things in the future of all this unrest.

    We all need to remember we’re human beings first and foremost and it’s OKAY that we don’t all feel the same. Conflicting ideas breeds creativity and cooperation.

    Quite honestly I am disappointed in WP.com and WPTavern for taking this in a light that doesn’t match the free speech of which WordPress so readily claims. But alas, we make our own beds. 😦

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  13. Andrei
    · Reply

    And that’s why you always have to keep your content on your won servers.

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  14. David Boozer
    · Reply

    That is both a sad and disgusting moment for WordPress. The claims of false news and such were false news themselves. Oh, and Sarah, the website did not have a “poor reputation” among many folks who enjoy free speech and thought.

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  15. sinip
    · Reply

    It is quite funny to watch how USA now becomes the same as USSR once. We all know how that had ended…

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  16. Barrett Golding
    · Reply

    Consider removing the direct links to the misinfo articles. By linking you lend all WP Tavern’s domain authority to the misinfo site’s Google page rank. Instead, you could archive the article in the Wayback Machine and link to IA’s archived version. Or you could add a rel=”nofollow” to the anchor tags to prevent search engines from, essentially, recording your links as an endorsement of the site.
    https://firstdraftnews.org/latest/debunk-viral-fake-news-story-help-the-hoaxers-stop-it-facebook-megyn-kelly/

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  17. Kay White
    · Reply

    You fight misinformation with the truth, not by censorship. Bad show wordpress. Never commented before but very disturbed by this. It goes against what I (incorrectly) thought were WordPress values.

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  18. DJ Johnny Medley
    · Reply

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