Young Turks: Reddit is the Internet’s new activist hotbed

By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, December 31, 2011 11:51 EDT
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"The Young Turks" host Cenk Uygur. Image: Screenshot via Current TV.
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In a segment broadcast Friday night, Current TV’s “The Young Turks” hosts took a look at social media forum Reddit, which has recently become a flashpoint for resistance to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which critics warn will break the structure of the Internet if it becomes law.

For Reddit, that threat is very real: one of the site’s managers recent commented that independent analysts have told them that if SOPA passes, Reddit is essentially doomed. Such a small staff cannot possibly police such a massive volume of user-submitted content for links to websites potentially engaged in copyright infringement of any type, they explained, pleading with users to push back against the bill.

The users of Reddit have already managed to force Internet domain registrar GoDaddy to reverse their support of SOPA, which only happened after the online activists convinced domain owners to pull tens of thousands of registries away from the company. Now users of the popular site are targeting Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) with a campaign they’ve named “Pull Ryan,” forcing him to disavow rumors that he supports the bill.

“I love it,” host Cenk Uygur said Friday night. “They even got Paul Ryan backpedaling!” he said moments later. “He said, ‘What, me? SOPA? I didn’t sponsor it. Don’t touch me, dog!’ That’s really effective. I’m really, pleasantly surprised by that.”

“It’s incredible, and a lot of people are getting involved,” co-host Ana Kasparian added. “For instance, this post about attacking the politicians has already recieved over 1,000 comments. So, look, this is the online world. People don’t want to have their rights online violated. They want the freedom of the Internet. I love this. They’re fighting for something really important.”

This video is from Current TV’s “The Young Turks,” broadcast Friday, Dec. 30, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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