American news aggregation, content rating and discussion site Reddit has banned the biggest Donald Trump-centric subreddit ‘The_Donald’. The subreddit, home of roughly 800,000 Donald Trump fans was permanently banned over abusive posts.
The announcement on Monday said ‘The_Donald’, a subreddit dedicated to the most hardcore of Donald Trump supporters on the site, was shut down after repeated and constant violations of the site’s rules pertaining to hate speech, content manipulation and harassment.
‘The_Donald’ was one of Trump’s biggest online forums with mainstream visibility. Donald Trump himself has even shared various memes that had been posted on this forum, in turn boosting its profile and credibility amongst his base.
This is not the first time The_Donald has been in the public eye for controversial reasons. Besides its attraction to conspiracy theories and posts targeting any critics President Trump has, the forum was once quarantined by Reddit over content deemed to have encouraged violence. During that incident, Reddit had threatened to permanently ban the forum if its moderators did not take down the posts in question. Subreddit moderators are unpaid volunteers who have to abide by Reddit’s rules of conduct.
The permanent banning of the forum is confirmation that Reddit believes that the subreddit cannot be trusted to regulate itself to an adequate degree. The company’s statement said that “Reddit is a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalised or vulnerable groups of people. Everyone has a right to use Reddit free of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence.” The statement accompanied a new set of content rules that have now been put into place.
The permanent shutdown of The_Donald is part of a wider set of changes the platform is taking, which include the removal of roughly 2,000 subreddits. This includes the left wing Chapo Trap House, also for violations of content rules. Most of the deleted subreddits were inactive, according to Reddit’s statement.
The new rules that Reddit has added to better regulate the content allowed on its platform pertain to measures designed to avert online harassment and protect personal privacy.
Rules which will now lead to ban include “describing a racial minority as sub-human and inferior to the racial majority” and “mocking people with physical disabilities”.
Reddit’s statement clarified that “Communities and users that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned.”
Reddit is not the only social media company that has recently imposed new rules and limits on the content that users can post, following Twitter’s labelling of Donald Trump tweets and Facebook’s placement of warning labels on problematic posts. This marks a change from the original laissez-faire approach that defined online platforms in their nascent stages.