On Monday, the social networking site said that subreddits – or forums – and users who promote hatred based on “identity or vulnerability” will be banned. As part of the policy change, Reddit is initially banning around 2,000 subreddits, including “The_Donald”, a popular community that supports President Donald Trump, where users often shared racist, misogynist, homophobic and conspiracy content.
Reddit said the “The_Donald” forum has consistently broken its rules, has hated other communities and moderators have refused to meet Reddit’s “most basic expectations”. The company also said it had given warnings to the community and changed its moderators. In 201
9, it “quarantined” the forum, which means that people who visit the subreddit would see a warning message before logging in and the forum posts will not be shown in the search.
“All communities on Reddit must respect our content policy in good faith. We have banned r / The_Donald because it didn’t, despite every opportunity,” said Reddit on Monday.
Reddit said that the vast majority of banned accounts are inactive and of these, only about 200 have more than 10 daily users.
The decision to ban “The_Donald” comes at a time when social media platforms are taking stronger stances against controversial content published by Trump, or in the case of Reddit, by his apparent supporters. Twitter has increasingly reported Trump’s tweets, Snapchat has said it will no longer promote Trump’s account on its platform, and Twitch said Monday that it will suspend an account belonging to Trump’s campaign.
The bans were part of a larger update of Reddit’s content policy announced on Monday. Reddit has published a series of rules that prohibit spam and attempts to interfere with other communities.
For social networks, announcing new policies is the easy part, but enforcing them is the biggest challenge. Reddit said its application will include “asking you to delete it”, temporarily or permanently suspending accounts, adding community restrictions and removing content.
Reddit, which calls itself the first page of the Internet, has long fought against hateful and racist content on its platform. Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit, has been targeted in the past for not acting on the communities of the site where racist opinions and language are often prevalent. In 2018, he said that racial insults are allowed on the site.
As much of Silicon Valley faced renewed control over how it manages race and diversity – both in its products and in meeting rooms – Reddit has started taking some measures to improve.
Earlier this month, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the company’s board of directors and asked for him to be replaced with a black candidate. The company has since appointed Michael Seibel, CEO of Silicon Valley’s startup accelerator Y Combinator, to be the first black board member in Reddit’s history.
An open letter co-signed by over 800 communities on Reddit earlier this month called on Huffman to take six steps to combat racism and hatred, including creating an anti-racism policy, insults and speech. hatred addressed to protected groups, as well as being “proactive” in banning hateful users and hate based communities. The letter also states that Reddit must hire more women and minorities, especially in leadership roles.