Reddit and Twitch take action against Trump, group on hate
said last week that the city would start trying to dismantle what has been named the “Capitol Hill SAN FRANCISCO — Organized Protest” area. Reddit, one of the largest City workers on Friday social networking and tried to remove makeshift message board websites, barriers erected around the on Monday banned its bigarea but stopped their work gest community devoted to after demonstrators obPresident Donald Trump jected. as part of an overhaul of its
Nearby businesses and hate speech policies. property owners filed a Also Monday, Twitch, federal lawsuit against the the livestreaming platform, city last Wednesday, claimsaid it was suspending ing officials have been too Trump’s channel for “hatetolerant of those who creful conduct,” in what apated the zone and that peared to be the first delibofficials have deprived erate suspension of one of property owners of their Trump’s social media acelsewhere could be traced property rights by allowing counts. back to “The—Donald.” the zone to continue. The banned community One video, “The Trump
The business owners or “subreddit,” called Effect,” originated on said they were not trying to “The—Donald,” is home to “The— Donald” in undermine the protesters’ more than 790,000 users mid-2016 before bubbling anti-police-brutality and who post memes, viral vidup to Trump, who tweeted Black Lives Matter meseos and supportive mesit to his 83 million followsages.ers.ButtheownerssaidsagesaboutTrump.Reddit they have suffered because executives said the group, Twitch, owned by Amathe creation of the zone has which has been highly inzon, said two recent limited their access to their fluential in cultivating and streams on Trump’s chanbusinesses and that some stoking Trump’s online nel violated its rules. One owners trying clean graffiti base, had consistently brostream was of a rebroadfrom their storefronts or ken its rules by allowing cast 2015 campaign event attempting to photograph people to target and harass in which Trump made protesters have been threatothers with hate speech. comments about Mexico ened. “Reddit is a place for sending drugs, crime and community and belonging, rapists over the border. The not for attacking people,” other was of his recent rally Steve Huffman, the compain Tulsa, Oklahoma, where ny’s chief executive, said in he talked about a “very a call with reporters. tough hombre” breaking “‘The—Donald’ has been into a woman’s house at 1 in violation of that.” a.m.
Reddit said it was also “Hateful conduct is not banning 2,000 other comallowed on Twitch,” a munities from across the Twitch spokeswoman said political spectrum, includin a statement. “In line with ing one devoted to the our policies, President leftist podcasting group Trump’s channel has been “Chapo Trap House,” issued a temporary suspenwhich has about 160,000 sion from Twitch for comregular users. The vast maments made on stream, and jority of the forums that are the offending content has being banned are inactive. been removed.”
“The—Donald,” which It was unclear how long has been a digital foundathe suspension would last. tion for Trump’s supportReddit, which was ers, is by far the most active founded 15 years ago and and prominent community has more than 430 million that Reddit decided to act regular users, has long against. For years, many of been one corner of the the most viral Trump internet that was willing to memes that broke through host all kinds of communito Facebook, Twitter and ties. No subject — whether it was video games or makeup or power-washing driveways — was too small to discuss. People could simply sign up, browse the site anonymously and participate in any of the 130,000 active subreddits.
Yet that freewheeling position led to many issues of toxic speech and objectionable content across the site, for which Reddit has consistently faced criticism. In the past, the company hosted forums that promoted racism against Black people and openly sexualized underage children, all in the name of free speech.
That has haltingly changed over time. In 2015, Reddit introduced antiharassment policies. Later that year, it banned several subreddits that targeted Black or obese people. In 2016, it rolled out additional anti- harassment measures and tools. It also took down forums dedicated to openly buying and selling drugs.
But the company’s executives have struggled in particular with how to handle “The—Donald” and its noxious content. Reddit said people in “The—Donald” consistently posted racist and vulgar messages that incited harassment and targeted people of different religious and ethnic groups on and off its site.
Reddit, with more than 430 million users, has been one site on the internet that hosts all kinds of communities.