On June 26, social media platform Reddit decided to “quarantine” the subreddit r/The_Donald, an online community with about 767,000 members, which is “a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.”
The “quarantine” feature of Reddit means that the subreddit will “generate no revenue,” “not appear in non-subscription-based feeds,” and “not [be] included in search or recommendations.” A Google search for “r/The_Donald” or “the Donald reddit” as of now will not link immediately to the subreddit, unlike other subreddits, which can generally be accessed in that fashion with its subreddit name.
Moreover, in a letter to the moderators of r/The_Donald, Reddit explains that the “quarantine” feature allows Reddit to display a warning when users try to visit the subreddit, attempting to further discourage them from joining the group. Reddit adds that “we will continue to monitor your community, specifically looking at report rate and for patterns of rule-violating content,” suggesting that the subreddit will be subject to greater scrutiny.
Reddit’s response comes after a Media Matters report on June 24 noting that the users on the subreddit “have repeatedly issued for violence in response to Oregon’s governor calling for law enforcement to bring back Republican state senators who fled the state so the state wouldn’t have the quorum to pass climate action.”
Reddit decided to quarantine the subreddit because “over the last few months we have observed repeated rule-breaking behavior in your community and an over-reliance on Reddit admins to manage users and remove posts that violate our content policy, including content that encourages or incites violence.”
A spokesperson for Reddit also elaborated to The New York Times, “We are clear in our sitewide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed on Reddit.”
With regards to its stated standard for a “quarantine,” Reddit appears to be exclusively subjecting the subreddit r/The_Donald to the quarantine, while other radical left-wing subreddits are given free rein.
The subreddit r/ChapoTrapHouse, which has roughly 124,000 members and is based on the left-leaning American political and humor podcast Chapo Trap House, has avoided being quarantined, despite similar violations.
The subreddit has a post from seven months ago that is active where the title reads, “White people in my history of Latin America’s class laughing at border patrol tear gassing migrants” and the text for the title reading, “white genocide now.”
It has a post from one month ago that is also still active, advocating for violence against the Walton family, the richest family in the U.S.
The image associated with the post is a picture of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro jokingly responding to a tweet by Senator Bernie Sanders who complains about the wealth of the Walton family: Shapiro then responds, “You should probably kill them and take their money.” The user who posted the image adds the title, “This, but unironically.”
In addition, the subreddit allows insinuations of violence and murder to stay up as active posts and comments. A post from four months ago shows a picture of a tweet by author Kurt Schlichter saying “Death before socialism.” Users then respond, “we will kindly oblige” and “This can be arranged.”
Moreover, the subreddit has a long history of violent posts and comments by users, which have been deleted but violated Reddit’s policy of restrictions on content that “encourages or incites violence.”
Users on the subreddit have stated, “Violence against the right is always acceptable and should absolutely be encouraged,” “I hope Chicago Police get repeatedly shot in their fat faces,” and “increasingly I think the only possible solution is actually extrajudicially killing people and basically starting a civil war.”
Despite appearing to have much fewer violent comments and posts than r/ChapoTrapHouse, another radical left-wing subreddit called r/LateStageCapitalism with around 428,000 members, which is for “news, discussion, memes, and links criticizing capitalism,” runs into similar violations.
On the subreddit, there is an active post from one year ago that reads, “Me_irl [in real life]” and the image associated with the post being a tweet stating, “Me 2012: legalize gay weed / Me 2017: Let every banker hang from the lamposts. Let the streets flood with the severed heads of the capitalists.”
A post from two years ago on r/LateStageCapitalism also reads, “No one can reasonably argue that the Republican congressmen shot today [in reference to the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise at a baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia] didn’t deserve it. They absolutely did.”
Many other subreddits, such as r/politics, have also had many users make violent comments in reference to conservatives where users have called for having Trump supporters drink arsenic, “going to the homes of Republican lawmakers in the middle of the night, dragging them into the street, and turning them into tree ornaments,” and “hanging Republicans.”
The moderators of r/The_Donald have been following the proper protocols requested by Reddit and likely made an appeal to have their quarantine removed.