This past Monday, Reddit banned over 2,000 subreddits, including r/The_Donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse. The idea with this mass banning was to crack down on these online communities and forums that promote hate internally.
Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, said that the decision to shut these subreddits down was made after a lengthy discussion as to how Reddit could “close the gap between policies and values that address hate explicitly”.
One of the most popular profiles that was banned was r/The_Donald, which was a community of well over 800,000 members that promoted hate speed, right-wing memes, conspiracy theories, and much more. Even though the subreddit was not affiliated with the president, he did host a Reddit AMA on r/The_Donald back in the summer of 2016 before his presidency.
Even though the ban completely shut down the subreddit this past Monday, it had already been fairly silent for a few months prior. Axios recently reported that the members had been moving to a different platform for quite some time due to the restrictions that Reddit had already placed on them for violating the rules so frequently.
Steve Huffman said in a recent statement that Reddit banned r/The_Donald due to the fact that there were so consistent in upvoting “more rule-breaking content than average”. The moderators refused to align with the minimal expectations of the Reddit platform, according to Huffman, and they spent much of their time antagonizing other users and communities.
Huffman says that all of the Reddit communities must, in good faith, “abide by our content policy”. r/The_Donald was banned due to the fact that the subreddit had all of the opportunities to do so, yet they did not comply.
On the other side of things, r/ChapoTrapHouse, a subreddit influenced by a left-wing podcast with the same name, was also banned for the same reason.
Huffman makes it very clear that Reddit intends to allow all views across the political spectrum without any exceptions.
This mass subreddit crackdown comes just a few weeks after Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, resigned from the Reddit board of directors, asking the company to fill his seat with a black candidate. According to an announcement from early June, Reddit fulfilled the wish of Alexis Ohanian by welcoming the CEO of Y Combinator, Mr. Michael Seibel, to the board.
Beyond Reddit, a number of other platforms began cracking down on hate speech this past week. YouTube banned a number of white supremacist channels, including David Duke, Richard Spencer, and Stefan Molyneux. These channels had content referring to the inferiority of groups of people, as well as other types of hateful content.
YouTube has “strict policies prohibiting hate speech” and they aim to “terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies”.
Trump was even temporarily suspended from Twitch, the popular streaming platform, due to hateful conduct during his campaign rallies, in which he vilified Mexican immigrants.
What do you think about the recent bans?
Is this cracking down on freedom of speech or clearing out hate so that we can enjoy a more peaceful and inclusive online experience?
Let us know!