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Actor Terry Crews’ seemingly pro-China Instagram post has effectively killed an entire, once-thriving subreddit.
It has been a week since Crews posted a picture of himself in front of a Chinese flag on his Instagram that some interpreted as his signal of allegiance to the country. The Instagram caption read: “POWER TO THE PEOPLES #china #shanghai #workout #workoutmotivation #peoplesrepublicofchina.”
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Terry Crews (@terrycrews) on
Crews’ Crew is a Terry Crews fan subreddit with approximately 160,000 subscribers. After Crews’ post of him in front of a Chinese flag, the subreddit was essentially nuked, with over two weeks of user-submitted content disappearing overnight. Only one new post in the subreddit has been made within the last week and all posts made within approximately the past two weeks have been wiped from the board’s history entirely.
When problems arise on subreddits, Reddit moderators have been known to take measures such as quarantining the subreddit or making it private. The former prevents ads from running on the subreddit and posts from the subreddit from appearing on the front page while the latter makes the subreddit inaccessible without special permission. Neither of these appear to be what has happened to Crews’ Crew.
None of the moderators from the Crews’ Crew subreddit immediately replied to the Daily Dot’s request for comment on what the current status of the subreddit is. It is currently unclear if the erasure of content from the subreddit was done by the subreddit’s moderators or Reddit administrators.
Regarding why this happened, it is almost indisputably linked to Crews’ Chinese national flag Instagram post. Reddit’s vitriol for China has always been an invisible subject on the website under the guise of protecting free speech, but the rhetoric really took a jump in 2019. In February, Chinese gaming and tech conglomerate Tencent invested $150 million into Reddit. Immediately, criticism emerged from Reddit users who thought Tencent’s involvement would lead to an increase in censorship on the website.
Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of "Tank Man" at Tienanmen Square before our new glorious overlords decide we cannot post it anymore. from Damnthatsinteresting
Reddit is now funded by Chinese investors, so let's remember that President Xi Jinping is so insecure in a meme that he banned Winnie the Pooh nationwide. from pics
Reddit’s fear and dislike of China is so strong that simply one picture of Terry Crews alongside a Chinese national flag apparently destroyed a 160,000-member-strong subreddit and turned it into a ghost town. Considering censorship was at some point the main fear regarding Tencent’s involvement in Reddit, it’s ironic that the mere image of a Chinese flag has seemingly caused an entire subreddit to implode.
Ignacio Martinez is a reporter specializing in online gaming and political communities. His work has previously appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM. He is based in Austin, Texas, and you can follow him on Twitter at @NacioMartinez.