- Reddit has taken action to restrict a wildly popular pro-Trump subreddit, r/The_Donald, for containing “rule-breaking behavior” and content in violation of the platform’s policies.
- The subreddit has been “quarantined,” meaning it won’t appear in search results or recommendations, generate revenue, and it now requires users to explicitly opt-in to view its content.
- Reddit says the quarantine was issued due to “threats of violence against police and public officials.”
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Reddit has punished a subreddit popular among Donald Trump supporters with a “quarantine,” citing “threats of violence against police and public officials.”
The subreddit r/The_Donald, an online forum which has over 750,000 subscribers, was quarantined on Wednesday. That means that neither the subreddit nor its posts will appear in search and recommendation results, including Reddit’s Popular feed. The subreddit will also not be able to generate revenue.
Trying to access the r/The_Donald subreddit will now present you with a warning message (like the one above) that notifies you of the thread’s quarantine due to violations of Reddit’s conduct policy, including “threats of violence against police and public officials.” As part of the quarantine, users who want to access the subreddit will have to explicitly, and manually, opt-in to view the page.
The quarantine seems to be in response to recent posts threatening violence toward public officials in Oregon, according to a message from Reddit that a r/The_Donald moderator shared online. In Oregon, nearly a dozen Republican lawmakers recently fled the state to prevent climate change legislation from passing. After the state’s Democratic senator said she would use law enforcement to make the lawmakers return for the vote, multiple users on r/The_Donald said they would resort to violence to protect GOP politicians, according to right-wing watchdog group Media Matters, which shared some of these Reddit posts in an article published Monday. In a thread about Oregon, one user reportedly wrote that, “everyone needs to start getting into shape, sharpening up your marksmanship and learning the ins and outs of all your fire arms. Stock upon that ammo too.”
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A Reddit spokesperson referred Business Insider to its platform’s policies, which bans content encouraging or threatening violence.
“As we have shared, we are sensitive to what could be considered political speech, however, recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy,” the Reddit spokesperson said. “As a result, we have actioned individual users and quarantined the subreddit.”
Criticism from right-wing supporters, and contributors to the r/The_Donald, was swift in response to the quarantine. Moderators for r/The_Donald turned to Twitter to voice their unhappiness and float the theory that the quarantine was purposefully aligned with the first Democratic presidential debate happening Wednesday night.
Although r/The_Donald had never been quarantined before, other popular right-wing subreddits have been banned from the platform. The r/Pizzagate community was banned in late 2016 because of its promotion of a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was leading a child abuse ring out of a Washington, DC pizza shop. In 2017, the r/altright subreddit was banned due to “the proliferation of personal and confidential information,” and the alt-right subreddit r/clownworldwar was banned earlier on Wednesday.
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