Reddit banned over 2,000 communities after updating its content policy to more explicitly ban hate speech, including a "dirtbag left" subreddit called /r/ChapoTrapHouse. In a huge switch for Reddit, many were surprised by the major reversal of policies, considering the site’s history of lax rules and regulations — including the allowance of users to distribute nude photos.
The new policy comes on the heels of several Black Lives Matters protests and the death of George Floyd. Many popular Reddit forums went silent in protest of the site that, until recently, had little to no concern about multiple subreddits and communities openly preaching hate speech.
CEO Steve Huffman admitted the change was a struggle for him.
When talking to reporters on their new policy changes, Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, confessed that this new change has been a bit of a challenge for him internally due to his beliefs in free speech. “I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency,” he said.
Reddit’s new policy begins with a first rule that requires users to literally consider humanity, writing “consider the human.” It reads: "Remember the human. Reddit is a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people. Everyone has a right to use Reddit free of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence. Communities and people that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned."
Steve also stated that the decision comes after discussions with his team about how the platform can "[close] the gap between our values and our policies to explicitly address hate."
Reddit banned r/ChapoTrapHouse as well as many other communities for violating guidelines.
The subreddit, r/ChapoTrapHouse, is a spinoff based on the popular left-wing podcast of the same name. The podcast is strongly associated with the dirtbag left, a term coined by Frost to refer to a style of contentious left-wing political discourse that eschews civility for its own sake in favor of vulgarity.
While the main focus of the ban was the right-winged Reddit, The_Donald, in which Steve Huffman wrote that the community "has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average (Rule 1), antagonized us and other communities (Rules 2 and 8), and its mods have refused to meet our most basic expectations, “ he also mentioned r/ChapoTrapHouse for violating similar regulations.
"Though smaller, r/ChapoTrapHouse was banned for similar reasons," he wrote. That subreddit had more than 150,000 members, statistics show. He continued to explain the ban for Chapo and said that the community "consistently host rule-breaking content and their mods have demonstrated no intention of reining in their community."
Reddit also banned a transphobic subreddit, Gender Critical.
The forum /r/GenderCritical was once described by its moderators as “Reddit’s most active feminist community” for “women-centered, radical feminists” to discuss “gender from a gender-critical perspective."
“Gender critical” consists of a group of feminists that do not believe a trans woman is actually a woman and won’t fight for their rights equally with other women.
The community boasted 64,400 members, according to archives and the group regularly denied that trans women are women and more recently, voiced support for JK Rowling who triple-downed on her belief of similar thought through anti-trans tweets. The group also denounced gender-neutral and trans-inclusive language and argued in favor of denying trans women access to facilities. Because of Reddit’s new, revised rules and regulations, /r/GenderCritical was banned for “promoting hate."