US

Reddit Quarantines its Largest Pro-Trump Forum

By Victor Westerkamp

Social media platform Reddit has quarantined it’s largest 755,000-member pro-Trump forum, the subreddit r/The _Donald, on June 26, because it allegedly had infringed on its non-violence policy, and voiced threats of violence against police and public officials.

“We are clear in our site-wide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed on Reddit,” a Reddit spokeswoman said in a statement provided to Reuters. “We are sensitive to what could be considered political speech; however, recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy.”

The_Donald is one of the largest online forums for Trump supporters and by far the largest on Reddit. It describes itself as “a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.”

On Monday, the media watchdog group Media Matters for America listed messages posted on The_Donald that it deemed violent. It happened after Democratic Governor Kate Brown of Oregon called for law enforcement to bring back GOP state senators who left the state to avoid voting on a climate-change bill.

One user posted that “rifles are the only way we’re going to get any peace in our lives ever again.”

According to Reddit, “Quarantined communities will display a warning that requires users to explicitly opt-in to viewing the content. They generate no revenue, do not appear in non-subscription-based feeds (eg Popular), and are not included in search or recommendations. Reddit may also enforce a number of additional product restrictions that exist currently or as they may develop in the future (eg removing custom styling tools).”

Users of The_Donald were outraged by the ban. One The_Donald moderator, “shadowman3001,” claimed the quarantine was purely politically inspired, “It would seem they’ve set up an impossible standard as a reason to kill us before the 2020 election,” shadowman3001 wrote.

Back in 2016, Trump also used the platform to hold an “Ask Me Anything” session in which he held a Q&A with members. Other Trump supporters like Tucker Carlson of Fox News and Infowar’s host Alex Jones have also made appearances.

On Twitter, A self-described “memesmith” named “Carpe Donktum,” whose memes have been re-posted by Trump, said the ban came on the same day as the first Democratic presidential debate: “Coincidence? Absolutely not. A community of over 700,000 Patriots [sic] suddenly silenced”

The Reddit thread previously faced censorship by internet giant Google, who made it harder for search results to find the page.

The Epoch Times reported in May that users of the Reddit social media site noticed that the Reddit fan club of President Donald Trump was quite difficult to find on Google, but not on other search sites. However, rather than fixing the issue, Google appears to have doubled down, making the fan club—/r/The_Donald—even harder to find.

As The Epoch Times reported in April, if one searches the words “Donald Trump” and “Reddit” together on a number of internet search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Brave, one finds that the top spot in the results is r/The_Donald—possibly the largest and most active Trump fan club on the internet with some 740,000 subscribers.

Making the same search on Google, however, didn’t surface the link to The_Donald at all, or at least not on the dozens of pages of search results The Epoch Times staff browsed through.

A Google official, responding on the condition of anonymity, had at the time denied the company took any action to impact the ranking of the page and said Google didn’t remove it from its page index. The page still appeared high in the results, the official said via email, when one looked for it more specifically, such as by searching “The_Donald” or “/r/The_Donald” or “reddit The_Donald.”

Since then, however, Google seems to have further suppressed The_Donald as searching the words “reddit The_Donald” doesn’t surface the page anymore.

Epoch Times reporter Petr Svab contributed to this report.