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Reddit restricts Pro-Trump forum

by on27 June 2019

Someone has a problem with Trump supporters planning to kill police and elected officials

Social media site Reddit has restricted access to a major forum for supporters of US President Donald Trump, citing threats of violence against police and public officials.

Users accessing the r/The_Donald forum, or subreddit, are now met with a message asking: “Are you sure you want to view this community?” before they click to enter.

Quarantined subreddits also are not included in searches or recommendations.

With about 755,000 subscribers, is one of the largest online forums for Trump supporters, bills itself as “a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump”.

As a candidate in 2016, Trump held an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on the subreddit in which he fielded questions from members.

A note from Reddit administrators, posted by a moderator in the r/The_Donald subreddit, said they had observed repeated rule-breaking behaviour and, recently, encouragement of violence against police and public officials in Oregon.

Some members on the site were cross that democratic Governor Kate Brown called for police to bring back Republican state senators who fled the state so climate change legislation could not be passed. They called for the deaths of police and of course Brown herself.

A Reddit spokeswoman said in a statement said that site-wide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed on Reddit.

“We are sensitive to what could be considered political speech. However, recent behaviour, including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy.”

Members of the subreddit responded angrily to the move, with some accusing the platform of bias against conservatives. They think it is free speech for white conservatives to arrange lynchings online against whoever disagrees with them, including police and democratically elected officials.

Trump has also complained, without evidence, about that there is an anti-conservative bias on social media platforms like Twitter. He repeated those complaints on the Fox Business Network which has no history of anti-liberal bias, adding that tech companies Alphabet Google and Facebook should be sued.

On 15 May, the administration launched a website and urged the US public to report instances of political bias on social media platforms. By political bias, they mean political bias against white right-wingers who are an oppressed minority in the US.

Reddit outlines its quarantine policies on a page that says such action is taken when there are communities “that, while not prohibited, average Redditors may nevertheless find highly offensive or upsetting”.

Subreddits can appeal to have quarantines lifted by showing they have changed their community moderation practices.

Reddit, which stopped short of banning the forum, also said that it had taken action against individual users as well as the subreddit.

Last modified on 27 June 2019
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