Social media platforms are under a lot of pressure to target and regulate hate speech. Major platforms like Facebook have remained defiant despite studies showing that Facebook algorithm regularly suggests people to and monetize hate speech content and groups. Reddit, one social media giant, just delivered a major victory in the fight against social media hate speech.
The infamous subreddit “r/The_Donald,” which celebrated President Trump, has been banned.
The group on Reddit had more than 790,000 members who supported, defended, idolized, and praised President Donald Trump. The thread was filled with memes, viral videos, and comments in support of the president and his actions. Reddit executives officially banned the thread for violating parts of its terms and conditions.
The purging of “r/The_Donald” is part of a larger purging of political threads that violate hate speech terms and conditions.
“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters, according to The New York Times. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”
According to The New York Times, Reddit banned 2,000 threads spanning the political spectrum. One of the other groups is “r/chapotraphouse,” which is known for being an extreme socialist group driving people to Bernie Sanders. Chapo Trap House has gone so far as to release a manifesto specifically for anyone who feels alienated.
The subreddit is responsible for some of the most dangerous and debunked conspiracy theories in recent history.
In 2016, an insidious conspiracy theory spread through social media about a pedophile ring in Washington D.C. The pedophile ring was allegedly organized in the basement of a local pizza place and referred to as Pizzagate. However, the pizza place accused does not have a basement. Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory grew and spread until one man showed up armed with guns threatening the employees and patrons.
“r/The_Donald” users were angered by Reddit’s decision to take down a thread promoting the debunked conspiracy theory. Many claimed that Reddit was censoring the group trying to peddle the false story.
The removal of the subreddit is welcomed news to some.
According to The New York Times, Reddit executives had no option but to shut down the thread due to noncompliance. Officials for the social media platform had allegedly engaged with moderators of “r/The_Donald” to regulate users to adhere to terms and conditions.
“We’ve given them many opportunities to be successful,” Huffman told The New York Times. “The message is clear that they have no intention of working with us.”