Reddit and Twitch clamp down on Trump-backing forums over hate speech

Reddit, an online comment forum that is one of the internet’s most popular websites, has banned a forum that supported Donald Trump, as part of a crackdown on hate speech.

The forum, called The_Donald, was banned because it encouraged violence, regularly broke other Reddit rules, and defiantly “antagonised” Reddit and other forums, the company said in a statement.

The platform had previously tried to discipline the forum.

Reddit’s action against The_Donald was part of a larger purge at the San Francisco-based site. The company said it took down a total of 2,000 forums, known as “subreddits”, most of which it said were inactive or had few users.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Donald Trump (Alex Brandon/AP)</figcaption>
Donald Trump (Alex Brandon/AP)

Social media companies have long struggled to deal with hate speech on their platforms. A growing number of large advertisers have said they are pausing social media spending after a campaign by a group of civil rights and other groups called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it had failed to curb racist and violent content and misinformation.

On Monday, Ford put the brakes on all national social media advertising for the next 30 days. The company said hate speech and violent and racial injustice content need to be eradicated from the sites.

Also on Monday, live-streaming site Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, temporarily banned Mr Trump’s account for violating its hateful conduct rules.

Twitch pointed to comments made in two rallies that were posted on the site.

One was at a recent rally in Tulsa, where the president mentioned “a very tough hombre” breaking into someone’s home. The other was from a 2015 campaign rally that was recently reposted on Twitch, in which he said Mexico sends people to the US who are rapists and bring drugs to the country.

Twitch declined to say how long the suspension will last.

Reddit has tweaked its rules and banned forums for white nationalists over the years in an attempt to rid its platform of vitriol.

Chief executive Steve Huffman said earlier this month that Reddit was working with moderators to explicitly address hate speech.