In a move to curtail hate speech on the platform, Reddit has shut down upwards of 2,000 subreddits that have a history of hate speech.
The company introduced their newly revised content policy on Monday (June 29), according to Variety, which explicitly states that groups and users that “incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability” will be prohibited.
With the new policy, Reddit banned about 2,000 subreddits. Purged subreddits, or user-run communities covering a specific topic or niche, include r/The_Donald, a pro-Trump forum; r/GenderCritical, a TERF forum; and r/ChapoTrapHouse, a radical left forum, according to the Advocate. While subreddits are user-run, Reddit administrators have the power to intervene when users break the rules of the site, which is the reason cited by Reddit for the removal of these communities.
“All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith,” the company said. “We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity. The community has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average (Rule 1), antagonized us and other communities (Rules 2 and 8), and its [moderators] have refused to meet our most basic expectations. Until now, we’ve worked in good faith to help them preserve the community as a space for its users—through warnings, mod changes, quarantining, and more.”
“Though smaller, r/ChapoTrapHouse was banned for similar reasons,” the company continued. “They consistently host rule-breaking content, and their [moderators] have demonstrated no intention of reining in their community.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center published a report on r/The_Donald back in 2018 highlighting the community’s hate speech, which included the promotion of white supremacist ideals for fear of a “white genocide” and the support of ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar. At the time of the report, r/The_Donald was the 153rd most popular subreddit on the site.
Similarly, r/GenderCritical spread anti-transgender hate speech. With over 64,000 members, the subreddit was dedicated to “women-centered, radical feminists” who do not believe trans women are women. According to archives, members engaged in discussions about denying transgender women access to bathrooms and criticizing gender-neutral or trans-inclusive language.
While the company did not list every subreddit that was removed, others they did include r/DarkHumorAndMemes, r/ConsumeProduct, r/CumTown, r/ImGoingtoHellforThis2, r/Wojak, and rr/SoyBoys. Reddit claims the purging of these subreddits in the first step in its mission to craft stricter rules around hate speech.