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2 Feb, 2017 23:09

‘Alt-right’ groups banned from Reddit in shock move

‘Alt-right’ groups banned from Reddit in shock move

Reddit has banned three major ‘alt-right’ subreddits for breaching the company’s content policy as part of an overall strategy to stamp out extremism on the site initiated by former CEO Ellen Pao.

The so-called ‘Alt-right’ are largely known for their vehement anti-liberal stance, often favoring white supremacist views instead.

This new ban targets the /r/altright, /r/rightyfriends and /r/alternativeright subreddits on the site, although the company has only alluded to breaches in the company’s content policy as to why it shut them down, and has yet to make an official public statement on the ban.

Speculation is rife online, however, that the real reason for the shutdown centers around an incident involving controversial, alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer. 

More specifically, following the attack on Spencer, a fund was set up on the controversial website wesearchr to identify Spencer’s assailant, with a bounty of $5,353 offered for information leading to his identification. 

READ MORE: Alt-right leader ‘sucker punched’ by masked man during DC protest rally (VIDEO)

This practice, known as doxxing, relates to the the proliferation of personal and confidential information for malicious purposes. Many online commentators and journalists believe repeated discussion of and links to this particular attempt at doxxing is the main catalyst for the ban. 

“Reddit is the proud home to some of the most authentic conversations online. We strive to be a welcoming, open platform for all by trusting our users to maintain an environment that cultivates genuine conversation and adheres to our content policy,” the company said in a statement.

“We knew this day was coming, so it comes as no surprise... But the admins are playing a losing game of whack-a-mole here,” user /u/MortalSisyphus, a former /r/altright moderator of the subreddit, said in a statement“The more the established political institutions try to maintain the status quo and marginalize us, the more they will drive free-thinking, independent lovers of truth to our side.”

READ MORE: Twitter suspends ‘alt-right’ WeSearchr on back of dubious bounty offer

A former senior moderator of the altright subreddit, who identified himself as Bill Simpson, told The Daily Beast, however, that he believed moderators on the site had been overly strict.

“So much for leftist tolerance,” Simpson said. “Our moderator team enforced stricter standards of behavior than reddit requires, and our users were very prompt at reporting violations so we could ban violators and delete posts and comments that broke the rules.”

While Reddit has long been known as a champion of freedom of speech, there has seemingly  been a recent dramatic shift in policy. During the US presidential campaign, Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman even admitted to directly editing posts directly attacking or referencing him in the dedicated Donald Trump subreddit, /r/The_Donald.