Reddit banned controversial forum The_Donald on Monday as it brought in sweeping changes to its hate speech policies. The subreddit sprung up as a forum for supporters of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, but soon became known for playing host to racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and other problematic content.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has previously taken action against The_Donald — banning threads from appearing on Reddit’s homepage in 2016 and then finally quarantining the subreddit in July 2019. The quarantine means that the subreddit won’t appear in search results and that only users with a verified email can click to opt in and view it. In February 2020, Reddit banned a group of the subreddit’s moderators and the community was placed in restricted mode, effectively making it read only.
But Huffman was called out by his predecessor Ellen Pao earlier this month for not taking firmer, quicker action against the subreddit.
Huffman admitted later admitted that he had regrets about the way he had handled the subreddit. “I fear we let being technically correct get in the way of doing the right thing,” said Huffman last week, speaking specifically about the_Donald. “Clearly, we should have quarantined it sooner.”
On Monday, as he announced changes to Reddit’s content policy, he announced that the subreddit would finally be closing altogether. “All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity.”
Since its earliest days, Reddit has always kept its rules minimal. Even now, its updated content policy includes only eight rules in total, followed by a list of actions the company will take against individuals and communities that break them. The ultimate punishment for repeat offenders is the banning of entire subreddits — and The_Donald is far from the only victim.
According to the New York Times, Reddit is also banning 2,000 other communities from across the political spectrum.
This story is being updated. More soon…