Reddit ‘quarantines’ pro-Donald Trump group over threats
A Reddit forum for self-described supporters of President Trump was “quarantined” on Wednesday over threats against police and public officials in Oregon, the tech giant said.
Reddit officials said the moderators on the subreddit “r/The_Donald” — which counts about 750,000 followers — had encouraged or allowed behavior that broke the site’s violence policy.
“We are sensitive to what could be considered political speech,” said Reddit spokeswoman Anna Soellner.
“However, recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy. As a result, we have sanctioned individual users and quarantined the subreddit.”
Some users on the message board — which bills itself as “a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump” — had allegedly encouraged violence related to Oregon’s recent climate change vote.
GOP state senators fled to prevent the bill from passing, and after calls for state police to go bring the lawmakers back, local far-right militias said they were prepared to defend the senators.
“r/The_Donald” members posted since-deleted comments like “none of this gets fixed without people picking up rifles,” and “[I have] no problems shooting a cop trying to strip rights from Citizens,” according to The Verge.
The quarantine won’t completely ban the forum, but it will conceal the community behind a warning where viewers have to affirm that they are sure they want to view the content.
The message board will also be blocked from appearing in searches or recommendations.
In a letter sent to the moderators, Reddit said it had observed a “disproportionate amount of rule-breaking behavior.”
“We recognize that you do remove posts that are reported, but we are troubled that violent content more often goes unreported, and worse, is upvoted,” the note said.
The quarantine will be reevaluated if moderators “unambiguously communicate to your subscribers that violent content is unacceptable,” Reddit said.
“We are aware of Reddit’s decision and are monitoring what’s going on,” said Trump reelection campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. “We remain concerned about practices of various social media platforms and their efforts to silence conservative voices and supporters of President Trump. It is an ongoing problem of fairness and infringement of freedom of speech.”