Red­dit and Twitch take ac­tion against Trump, group on hate

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Mike Isaac

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.

TALI AR­BEL/AP

Red­dit, with more than 430 million users, has been one site on the in­ter­net that hosts all kinds of com­mu­ni­ties.

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