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28 Feb, 2020 18:28

Fear of the_Donald: Reddit’s treatment of Trump’s fanbase is atrocious

Fear of the_Donald: Reddit’s treatment of Trump’s fanbase is atrocious

Reddit seems to have decided that special rules need to be enforced for the most popular pro-Trump subreddit, the_Donald. Subredditors there claim half their moderators have been purged and new ones are being installed from above.

There aren’t many bigger gathering places on the internet for Trump fans than Reddit’s the_Donald subreddit. Boasting over 790,000 subscribers, it is a massive hub of fans of Trump. Like all subreddits, it serves as a forum to share and discuss news, in this case political stories related to the United States president or to his policies. Threads will commonly be created to discuss immigration policy, the media’s issues with Trump, anti-socialism rallying calls, and so forth. The most distinctive feature is that the board has always had a strict “no cucks or leftists” policy, meaning they don’t tolerate people of the extreme left politically, or people they deem to be political sellouts. It’s a sort of He-Man Trump-Lovers club.

Recently, the subreddit’s moderation team (the people who enforce the subreddit’s rules) apparently had much of its staff purged from the website. Reddit administration gives no specific number, but members of the_Donald claim it was over half the moderation team. According to a post in the subreddit, it was due to “approving, stickying, and generally supporting content that breaks our content policy.” What exactly these threads were isn’t expanded upon. The perception of the subreddit is that, given the rules that they are now putting in place for new mods and that the admins are taking applications, Reddit wants to install their own mods to control conversation. This isn’t the first time that Reddit has meddled with the_Donald, previously “quarantining” the subreddit, effectively making it impossible for any article or thread on it to hit the front page of the website. In shorter terms, censoring them.


Reddit’s other political subreddits, specifically the News, Politics, and WorldPolitics pages, are not subjected to the same scrutiny. Neither are other, lesser-known political subreddits, such as the anti-capitalist LateStageCapitalism. Recently a thread with over 24,000 upvotes had a meme that supported the idea of armed revolution in tandem with Bernie Sanders’ campaign. This double standard, coupled with Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman’s talks of how Reddit can sway an election obviously don’t leave much faith in Reddit’s ability to show an even hand.

There is a quote from the popular character of Tyrion Lannister from the Song of Ice and Fire novels that states “when you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar. You’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” The_Donald’s rules are pasted on the side of its webpage, and it’s safe to say that the community does not abide by bigotry, violence, or anything of the sort. Yet Reddit treats the subreddit as if it’s run by Richard Spencer. Posts about ‘alt-right’ figures such as Nick Fuentes don’t gain much traction, only getting 20 to 80 upvotes in the community as opposed to the usual 4,000 or so for a more mainstream discussion. It’s obvious that the community could police itself, so all Reddit does is play its hand loudly – just like other digital platforms have, it seems to be looking for an excuse to censor Trump supporters.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.