On Friday, Reddit joined this week’s response to violent online rhetoric as spearheaded by President Donald Trump and eliminated its “r/donaldtrump” neighborhood, the location’s largest present neighborhood devoted particularly to Trump. Visiting any of that neighborhood’s pages now results in a easy message pointing to Reddit’s guidelines about “inciting violence,” which begins by saying, “Don’t submit violent content material.”
With out a quotation of particular Reddit threads or a proper announcement from Reddit directors clarifying the transfer, customers could also be left questioning concerning the actual purpose for the elimination. It is attainable, for instance, that the neighborhood web page was punished for reposting Trump’s speeches and statements from earlier within the week, which alternated between false claims about election fraud, calls to motion by his followers in response to his claims about fraud, or sympathetic statements concerning the seditionists who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Whereas looking via r/donaldtrump archives is a bit unwieldy (owing to how such archives are maintained at websites like archive.is), cursory searches level to the neighborhood internet hosting pre-protest conversations concerning the January 6 protest, often with titles pointing to Trump’s direct request that his followers from throughout the nation attend. The problem can also have come from a number of claims at r/donaldtrump shortly earlier than its shutdown about Wednesday’s seditionists being disguised as “antifa,” regardless of a majority of Capitol constructing invaders being identified with clear links to white nationalist organizations and calls for a violent January 6 protest.
On the hour of its ban, r/donaldtrump, which was created in 2011, had roughly 52,800 “members” (that means these logged-in customers who elected so as to add the channel to their default “house” web page interface). That quantity pales in comparison with the practically 800,000 members who had subscribed to r/the_donald earlier than it was shut down in August 2020—and demonstrates that the latter neighborhood’s closure appears to have labored in a “deplatforming” method when it comes to lowering visibility for hateful, rule-breaking content material.
Different on-line platforms are nonetheless scrambling to play catch-up in coping with hosted and promoted conspiracy theories and calls to motion by Trump supporters forward of the January 6 siege on the US Capitol. The hours following the siege noticed critics heap “informed you so” responses about clear, weeks-old calls to violent action publicly posted to platforms like TikTok, Parler, Facebook, and Twitter.
[Update, 8:11 p.m. ET: Later on Friday, the gaming-focused chat app Discord took an action very much in line with Reddit’s: It shuttered its “The_Donald” text and voice chat channel. This group was targeted in part because of clear ties to the former Reddit community of the same name (along with a spinoff site started after its Reddit ban) and had been previously moderated upon for ToS violations through 2020.
In a statement issued to Ars Technica, Discord cited its “zero-tolerance policy against hate and violence of any kind on the platform, or the use of Discord to support or organize around violent extremism.” While noting a lack of direct connection between the aforementioned January 6 riots, the company chose to ban the channel in question “due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence, plan an armed insurrection in the United States, and spread harmful misinformation related to 2020 U.S. election fraud,” according to the statement.]