Trump’s Twitch chan­nel sus­pended for hate speech

Red­dit web­site also bans group back­ing pres­i­dent

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Mike Snider

Pres­i­dent Trump and his fol­low­ers took a dou­ble hit in on­line me­dia Mon­day: Video stream­ing site Twitch sus­pended the pres­i­dent’s official chan­nel and pop­u­lar web­site Red­dit banned a group de­voted to Trump.

Twitch, a video game- cen­tric stream­ing site, sus­pended the official Don­ald Trump chan­nel – launched in Oc­to­ber 2019 – for vi­o­lat­ing its rules against hate speech. Among the vi­o­la­tions were the re­cent re­broad­cast of a 2015 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign rally in which Trump de­scribed im­mi­grants cross­ing the bor­der from Mex­ico.

“They’re send­ing peo­ple that have lots of prob­lems, and they’re bring­ing those prob­lems with us,” Trump said. “They’re bring­ing drugs. They’re bring­ing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I as­sume, are good peo­ple.”

That video was re­moved, as well as the broad­cast of Trump’s rally ear­lier this month from Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, where he de­scribed con­cerns of “a very tough hom­bre” break­ing into homes.

“Hate­ful con­duct is not al­lowed on Twitch,” the com­pany said in a state­ment sent to USA TO­DAY.

Red­dit, known as “the front page of the In­ter­net,” banned the sub­red­dit “r/ The_ Don­ald,” a pro- Trump group with more than 790,000 fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times. Red­dit said the group was banned for not abiding by its “con­tent pol­icy in good faith,” the site an­nounced in an up­date to its con­tent pol­icy.

The group, which was sanc­tioned a year ago for “threats of vi­o­lence against po­lice and pub­lic officials,” vi­o­lated Red­dit’s pro­hi­bi­tion of hate speech, ha­rass­ment, and in­ter­fer­ing with other Red­dit com­mu­ni­ties and over­all nor­mal use of the site, the com­pany said in an up­date posted Mon­day.

In to­tal, Red­dit banned about 2,000 sub­red­dits, or groups, on Mon­day most of which were in­ac­tive, it says. An­other well- known group banned was r/ ChapoTrapH­ouse, which is de­voted to a left- wing pod­cast. “To be clear, views across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum are al­lowed on Red­dit – but all com­mu­ni­ties must work within our poli­cies and do so in good faith, with­out ex­cep­tion,” Red­dit said in its up­date.

All this comes amid the back­drop of his­toric protests after the death of Ge­orge Floyd. While other in­sti­tu­tions such as tra­di­tional me­dia, Cor­po­rate

Amer­ica and the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem face calls to ad­dress sys­temic racism, so­cial me­dia is un­der differ­ent time pres­sures, says An­drew Selepak, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Florida and di­rec­tor of the grad­u­ate pro­gram spe­cial­iz­ing in so­cial me­dia.

“This is be­ing looked at un­der the guise of this elec­tion that is com­ing up in just a cou­ple months,” Selepak said. “So­cial me­dia is try­ing to ad­dress this pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion that is go­ing on,” he con­tin­ued, adding, “un­der­stand­ing that what they al­low or don’t al­low is go­ing to have an im­pact on the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, which is go­ing to have an im­pact on the coun­try … and the world.”

Twitch and Red­dit’s ac­tions come as so­cial net­works and on­line sites re­assess their stances for con­tent, in­clud­ing hate speech and false claims. Ear­lier this month, Twit­ter la­beled as “ma­nip­u­lated me­dia” a tweet from Trump of a doc­tored video of two tod­dlers, one Black and one white, edited to look like a CNN broad­cast. Last week, Twit­ter banned a con­ser­va­tive maker of memes – in­clud­ing the tod­dler video – for re­peated copy­right vi­o­la­tions.

In May, Twit­ter also added factcheck warn­ings to two Trump tweets about mail- in vot­ing, which led to Trump say­ing he planned to crack down on so­cial me­dia com­pa­nies.

Mean­while, Face­book faces a grow­ing cor­po­rate boy­cott over hate speech on the net­work. Among com­pa­nies join­ing the boy­cott Mon­day: Ford, Adi­das and Ree­bok.

“Views across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum are al­lowed on Red­dit – but all com­mu­ni­ties must work within our poli­cies.” Red­dit

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