The Brief: Reddit has quarantined the sub The_Donald, citing recent 'threats of violence against police and public officials' as a significant violation of their content policy.
On Wednesday, Reddit quarantined the controversial Alt-Right subreddit ‘The_Donald.’ A Reddit quarantine means that for a period of time, the subreddit remains active, but with significantly limited user access and searchability. Anyone who attempts to access reddit.com/r/the_donald will be met with the following message:
This quarantine comes days after a report by Alex Caplan was published on Media Matters For America about how calls for violence towards police in Oregon were a clear violation of Reddit’s content policy.
The report cites specific examples of calls for violence, contrasting them with Reddit’s official policy:
Users on “The_Donald,” a prominent subreddit for supporters of President Donald Trump, have repeatedly issued calls for violence in response to Oregon’s governor calling for law enforcement to bring back Republican state senators who fled the state so the state senate wouldn’t have the quorum to pass climate change action. Despite Reddit’s policy barring content that “encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm,” users have posted messages claiming that violence is “the only way we’re going to get any peace in our lives” and that it’s “good” to “threaten violence,” have urged others to “stock upon that ammo,” and have written that they would “help” with “shooting a cop trying to strip rights from Citizens.”
These recent calls for violence are one of many instances in which The_Donald has been used as a place to post hateful, bigoted, disturbing, and/or violence-promoting content.
According to a post on The_Donald, in a message to the page’s mods, Reddit wrote that the quarantine is a result of content that “encourages or incites violence,” most recently in reference to the situation in Oregon:
The reason for the quarantine is that over the last few months we have observed repeated rule-breaking behavior in your community and an over-reliance on Reddit admins to manage users and remove posts that violate our content policy, including content that encourages or incites violence. Most recently, we have observed this behavior in the form of encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon. This is not only in violation of our site-wide policies, but also your own community rules (rule #9).
It’s the job of a subreddit’s moderators to ensure that any content in violation of Reddit’s policies gets taken down. In the message to mods, Reddit cited the fact that they had to rely on their own admins to manage posts and users as a reason for the quarantine.
Reddit’s message to The_Donald’s mods stated that they would consider an appeal of the quarantine if certain measures were taken to prevent future rule-breaking on the sub.
One moderator on The_Donald has moved to a Twitter account for public updates on the state of the subreddit, along with his own opinions on the quarantine.
This quarantine does not mark the first time The_Donald has been called out for its hate speech and violations of Reddit policy. The_Donald remains a highly controversial social media platform that will likely remain under scrutiny for as long as it continues to exist.