Earlier this month, Medium revamped its Rules page, saying at the time, “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.”
Comparing the current Rules page with one from last November, The Outline points out an entirely new section among the many changes. Under the new “Related Content” heading, Medium says, “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.” And that alone could be enough to explain the suspensions of far-right personalities Cernovich, Posobiec and Loomer.
Posobiec had a strong hand in spreading the PizzaGate conspiracy theory as did Cernovich. Cernovich also pushed lies about the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs shooter being linked to antifa, Hillary Clinton hiding a serious illness and date rape not existing. Laura Loomer, who was banned from both Lyft and Uber last year following a string of anti-Muslim tweets, sometimes writes for Alex Jones’ conspiracy-focused Infowars and is currently under a temporary Twitter ban due to her tweets about the recent Florida school shooting. According to its rules, Medium can suspend accounts based on the writer’s non-Medium content, and in that regard, these suspensions make sense.
Additionally, Medium also expanded its section on hate speech adding, “We do not allow posts or accounts that glorify, celebrate, downplay, or trivialize violence, suffering, abuse, or deaths of individuals or groups. This includes the use of scientific or pseudoscientific claims to pathologize, dehumanize, or disempower others. We do not allow calls for intolerance, exclusion, or segregation based on protected characteristics, nor do we allow the glorification of groups which do any of the above.” It also now specifically states that it doesn’t allow hateful images and symbols in usernames, profiles or bios.
While these accounts are rather prominent and, therefore, their suspensions easily spotted, there could be more suspensions already dished out as well as more to come. Cernovich now claims he’s suing Medium for violating his civil rights and says the platform is discriminating against him based on his race and gender. We’ve reached out to Medium and we’ll update this post if we hear anything more.