Reddit has banned the controversial subreddit The_Donald as it makes changes to its hate speech policies. The message board is home to a trove of Donald Trump supporters since the 2016 presidential election, but through the years became a ground for anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and racist content.
The_Donald subreddit and its huge amount of subscribers had contributed a whole lot in shaping the trollish tone and style of the Trump campaign's digital character during the 2016 campaign. Frequent visitors of the subreddit were Trump aides Dan Scavino and Brad Parscale, according to reports. This was apparently the reason why videos or memes from the board were occasionally posted on the U.S. president's Twitter.
However, the subreddit has since been filled with bigotry and harassment, as well as content that promotes hate. Last year, Reddit decided to put the message board under "quarantin" because of the many rule violations, including the "encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon." By the time of the ban, The_Donald subreddit was largely inactive.
"All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith," said CEO Steve Huffman in a Reddit post. "We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity."
Huffman, in 2016 had actually placed bans on The_Donald subreddit, disallowing threads from appearing on Reddit's homepage, which led to the quarantine in 2019. The quarantine meant that the subreddit wouldn't appear in search results and that only users with a verified email could click to opt-in and view it. Reddit eventually banned several of the board's moderators and placed the forum on a read-only mode.
However, Huffman's critics think the restrictions imposed on The_Donald subreddit were not enough. Former Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao, even called him out for failing to make more stringent actions against the subreddit.
Huffman eventually acknowledged his mistake and said he regrets not handling the toxic subreddit earlier. In his statement, he said he had mistakenly put technical correctness first over doing the right thing and should have put the ban on the board sooner.
Reddit's content policy change was announced on Monday, along with the announcement of the permanent closure of The_Donald subreddit. The platform's decision arrives as Twitch announced a ban against Trump's channel for "hateful conduct." The suspension, albeit temporary, was triggered by a 2016 campaign rally that was rebroadcasted, as well as a recent rally held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.