Reddit bans pro-Trump group for violating hate speech policies

4 months ago 27
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June 29 (UPI) -- Social networking site Reddit banned a large President Donald Trump fan group Monday for violating new hate speech rules.

The "subreddit" forum called "The_Donald," had more than 790,000 users.

The group, which posted memes, viral videos and messages to support Trump, has consistently broken rules against targeting and harassing people with hate speech, Reddit executives said.

"Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people," Steve Huffman, the company's chief executive, told reporters. "The_Donald' has been in violation of that."

The Trump group is among more than 2,000 groups across the political spectrum that are being banned under Reddit's updated content policy to explicitly ban hate speech. On the leftist side, "Chapo Trap House," which has about 160,000 users, has also been banned for violating the rules, Reddit said.

Most of the subreddits banned are inactive. "The_Donald" is the most active forum that Reddit banned.

Amid Black Lives Matter protests, users have pushed Reddit, along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to push back against hateful, false and abusive speech.

For the first time, Twitter started adding warning labels last month on two of Trump's tweets about mail-in ballots, which Twitter indicated were potentially harmful or misleading. The labels directed users to "get the facts about mail-in ballots."

Another warning label was placed on a Trump tweet days later about shooting people amid looting and BLM protests, which Twitter said violated rules against glorifying violence.

In contrast, Facebook has received backlash from some of its own employees for not taking down the same post believed to incite violence amid the protests. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited the company's policy of not interfering with politicians' statements.

On Monday, shares of Facebook fell roughly 1 percent as more advertisers announced boycotts amid calls for the social media company to do more to combat hate speech. The drop followed an 8 percent decline on Friday. Together, the stock declines accounted for roughly $60 million in market value.

Among companies boycotting Facebook are Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Verizon.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon said the boycott was unlikely to significantly harm Facebook's revenue because it has more than 8 million advertisers, but a bigger impact could come from future pressure to invest in safety and security.

On Friday, Zuckerberg shared updates on steps to protect against 2020 election interference after it failed to stop Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and steps to fight racial injustice. Those steps include "prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads," the update said.

"Specifically, we're expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to physical safety, health or survival of others," the update added. "We're also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them."

Zuckerberg also said Facebook would take "additional steps to fight voter suppression," by banning fake claims meant to discourage voting, and that the company would create a Voting Information Center, including information on "how and when you can vote," vote by mail, early voting and voter registration.

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