Original story: On Friday, Reddit joined this week’s response to violent online rhetoric as President Donald Trump took the lead and removed his “r/donaldtrump” community, the site’s largest community dedicated specifically to Trump. Visiting any of those community pages now leads to a simple message referring to Reddit’s rules about “defining violence,” which begins by saying, “Do not post violent content.”
Without a reference to specific Reddit threads or an official announcement from Reddit administrators explaining the move, users may be left wondering about the exact reason for the removal. It is possible, for example, that the local page is punished for rewriting Trump’s words and statements from the beginning of the week, which alternate between false claims about electoral fraud, calls to action by his followers in response to claims your about fraud, or sympathetic statements. about the seditionists who took the US Capitol on Wednesday.
While searching through the r/donaldtrump archives is somewhat inefficient (because of how such archives are stored at sites like archive.is), cursory searches point to the site hosting pre-protest conversations about the January announcement. 6, often with headlines referring to Trump’s direct request that his followers across the country attend. The issue may also have come from numerous claims in r/donaldtrump shortly before its shutdown about Thursday’s killers masquerading as “antifa,” despite most of the Capitol protesters being identified with clear links to white nationalist organizations and called for violence on January 6 January 6. protested.
At the time of its inception, r/Donaldtrump, which was created in 2011, had approximately 52,800 members (meaning logged-in users who chose to add the channel to their default “home” page view). That number pales in comparison to the 800,000 members who had contributed to r/the_donald before it was shut down in August 2020—it shows that the latter community’s closure seems to have worked in a “deplatforming” way in terms of of reducing visibility for hateful, law-breaking content.
Other online platforms are also scrambling to deal with the host’s theories and promotion and calls to action by Trump supporters ahead of the January 6 impeachment on the US Capitol. The hours following the poll saw critics heap “told you so” responses about clear, weekly calls to violent action posted publicly to platforms such as TikTok, Parler, Facebook, and Twitter.
Update, 8:11 pm EST: Later on Friday, gaming-focused chat app Discord took action much in line with Reddit’s: it shut down its “The_Donald” text and voice chat channel. This group was targeted in part because of its apparent connections to an earlier Reddit community of the same name (including a spinoff site that started after its Reddit login) and has already been audited for ToS violations by 2020.
In a statement issued to Ars Technica, Discord points to a “zero tolerance policy against hate and violence of any kind on the platform, or the use of Discord to support or organize around violent crime.” While noting the lack of direct connection between the mentioned January 6 riots, the company chose to ban the channel in question “because of its obvious connection to the online forum used to incite violence, consider A military coup in the United States, and spreading harm. false information related to the 2020 US election fraud,” according to the statement.