Reddit shutters several Nazi boards to fight ‘violent content’

26 Oct 2017

Reddit mobile app. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Several Nazi and white supremacist subreddit boards have been shut down.

The current political climate is a tense one, with the strong resurgence of white supremacist online communities taking the spotlight over the last few months.

In August, Squarespace made the decision to drop several white supremacist and white nationalist websites from its services, and GoDaddy also kicked extreme far-right website The Daily Stormer off its web hosting platform.

It’s no secret that online forums can be incubators for some unsavoury ideologies and schools of thought, and it’s clear from Reddit’s recent decision to shut down offending subreddits that a harder line must be taken with those who hold these views.

According to Reddit commenters, banned subreddits include: r/far_right, r/Nazi and r/DylannRoofInnocent, among others. Subreddits discussing topics such as bestiality and gore were also pulled from the site.

CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman, will be taking questions about the changes on the site’s main announcements board next week.

Some subreddits remain

According to Gizmodo, the subreddits that were banned were relatively small, with memberships ranging between 25 and 7,000 users.

Many Redditors wondered how a popular Donald Trump subreddit (r/The_Donald) had remained up despite some of its user base comprising white supremacists and their ilk. One commenter wrote: “It has literally incited violence numerous times but I doubt it will be banned, sadly.”

The new community guidelines are stringent in their approach to violent content: “Do not post content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people. Likewise, do not post content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals.

“We understand there are sometimes reasons to post violent content (eg educational, newsworthy, artistic, satire, documentary etc) so if you’re going to post something violent in nature that does not violate these terms, ensure you provide context to the viewer so the reason for posting is clear.”

The guidelines also recommended tagging “borderline” content with an NSFW tag to provide context to other Reddit users.

Not the first time Reddit clamps down

In 2015, when CEO Steve Huffman was new in the position, Reddit quarantined and eventually banned some virulent racist subreddits, including r/Coontown.

Huffman said at the time that these subreddits “exist solely to annoy other Redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else”.

Reddit mobile app. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects