Reddit banned the controversial subreddit community "The_Donald" Monday as part of a sweeping move to ban over 2,000 subreddits for promoting hate. The social network had long been criticized for allowing The_Donald, a community supportive of President Donald Trump where users shared racist, homophobic and misogynistic messages and conspiracy theories for years. Last year, the forum was "quarantined," so anyone who visited the page was met with a warning about its contents, and its posts were removed from search results.
Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman said in a new post Monday that all communities "must abide by our content policy in good faith," and The_Donald has "not done so, despite every opportunity." According to Hoffman, the community "consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average" and "antagonized us and other communities." The moderators refused "to meet our most basic expectations." Until Monday, "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," Hoffman wrote. The ban on The_Donald went into effect at 1 p.m. ET.
"I have to admit that I've struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company's values around common human decency," Hoffman told reporters Monday, reports The Verge. The company also banned another subreddit, "ChapoTrapHouse" for posting content that violates its rules. The community is inspired by the popular left-wing podcast Chapo Trap House.
Trump and his campaign had no direct involvement with the Reddit community, although Trump did do an Ask Me Anything event before the 2016 election. It was launched in June 2015, shortly after Trump launched his campaign. After years of complaints about the content shared on the subreddit, it was "quarantined" in June 2019. When Reddit voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this month, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao criticized Hoffman for keeping the community active.
"You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence," Pao tweeted. "So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don't get to say BLM when Reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long." Pao, who resigned in 2015 after users revolted over the changes she tried to implement, celebrated Monday's move by sharing The Verge's article and merely writing, "Finally."
Monday's decision comes while social networks have come under increased scrutiny over offensive posts. Twiter angered Trump when it began putting fact-checking messages on his posts, while Twitch has suspended Trump's campaign account for "hateful conduct." Meanwhile, Facebook remains apprehensive about reacting to Trump's content, inspiring major brands like Coca-Cola and Verizon to start an advertising boycott on the platform.