It’s been a little over a year since Reddit’s largest pro Trump community — r/the_donald — was effectively banned. Reddit moved to “quarantine” the subreddit late last June, meaning that the sub would not be accessible through traditional searches. Quarantined subreddits can only be viewed by existing subscribers who must first agree to a disclaimer before entering. Basically, the subreddit is shadow-banned and is slated to be perma-banned. Ironically, Reddit’s reasoning for quarantining r/the_donald was that the sub had mad “threats to law enforcement.”
Yes, really. Remember when Oregon Governor Kate Brown threatened to send State Police to apprehend GOP lawmakers who had staged a lockout? A handful of obscure, albeit threatening comments with negligible up-vote counts in regards to that situation were what Reddit used as reasoning for the quarantine.
Of course at the time, several violent, radical left-wing subreddits remained active. r/ChapoTrapHouse was the main standout, as the sub had recorded numerous violent threats at the time. Though r/ChapoTrapHouse has since received the same treatment as r/the_donald, it was not until two months later. This is troubling, because the sub’s repeated violent threats had been well documented already.
The moderators of r/the_donald made repeated efforts to comply with Reddit’s demands but were ultimately quarantined anyway. The mods opted to lock down the sub forever when Reddit demanded that site approved moderators be installed. It felt as though no matter what, the hammer was coming down on the subreddit. Reddit is arguably more rabidly left wing than Twitter, complete with their own version of Media Matters. There were constant, round-the-clock calls for the sub’s banning and those doing so ultimately got their wish.
Since r/the_donald — a great source of memes and pro-Trump links — was axed; many other right-wing Reddit hubs have received the same treatment. The standard r/conservative subreddit is the only big name still remaining and even that is too much for the average political redditor.
Just how biased is Reddit? Well for one, their supposedly neutral politics sub — r/politics — is a far left echo chamber. When I say far left, I truly mean much farther left than the average liberal. Check out r/ShitPoliticsSays for hours of the sub’s bat-shit insanity. Links to Slate and Salon can routinely be found on the front page and several calls to violence have been documented. Other, supposedly neutral subreddits such as r/news, r/PoliticalHumor, and r/pics are carefully curated echo chambers.
Reddit, like other biased tech companies, gets away with their blatant censorship thanks to clear double standards. I spent hours on r/the_donald from 2016-19 and if that sub was to be banned for extreme political rhetoric, r/poltics should be right behind it. It never will be though, because Reddit is ideologically committed to stamping out what it deems as “far right” content.
If you’ve been around for the last few years, you know that far left authoritarians consider everything they disagree with to be fascism. Reddit is no exception and their blatant double standards highlight that. The same neo-liberals who role-play as socialists on social media become pro big business when tech monopolies flex their muscles on political dissidents.
The loss of r/the_donald didn’t get much attention in the conservative sphere of influence, but it should have.
“I’m confident that Reddit could sway elections…. We wouldn’t do it, of course. And I don’t know how many times we could get away with it. But, if we really wanted to, I’m sure Reddit could have swayed at least this election, this once” said former Reddit CEO Steve Huffman back in 2018.