• r/The_Donald had 790,000 active subscribers
  • Many of the site's users and moderators have left Reddit for platforms that have fewer rules
  • Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said it was apparent the site had no interest in working with platform officials to resolve problems

Social network site Reddit on Monday banned a forum used by President Trump supporters, citing hate speech. Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman said the r/The_Donald channel broke rules explicitly addressing hate.

The ban went into effect at 1 p.m. EDT, affecting 790,000 users who posted memes, videos and supportive messages about the president. Reddit said the group successfully stoked Trump’s online base.

Monday’s action was the latest in a move by social media sites to turn down divisive rhetoric in advance of the 2020 general election. Twitter has flagged several of President Trump’s tweets and banned all political advertising while Facebook recently took down a Trump campaign ad campaign that featured a symbol used by the Nazis to designate political prisoners in concentration camps. Snap also said it would stop promoting Trump’s account.

“This community was banned for violating rule 1,2 and 8,” a post on the Reddit reads. The rules bar attacks on “marginalized or vulnerable groups,” disruption of Reddit communities and introducing things like malicious code.

R/The_Donald was among 2,000 subreddits spanning the political spectrum that were taken down, Huffman said, as part of a bid to close “the gap between our values and our policies to explicitly address hate.” Among the other banned sites was the leftist podcasting group Chapo Trap House, which had about 160,000 regular users. Most of the others were inactive.

“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Huffman told reporters in a conference call. “The_Donald has been in violation of that.”

Reddit, which has 430 million subscribers, consistently has run into criticism for toxic speech and over the years has taken stronger action against harassment. Many of the site’s volunteer moderators and followers already had left Reddit for similar sites with fewer rules, the Washington Post said.

In addition to hate speech, r/The_Donald trafficked in conspiracy theories, including the infamous “PizzaGate” conspiracy, which led to shooting at a pizza parlor where believers promoted the false theory Hillary Clinton and other top Democrats were running a child sex ring in the basement.

“We’ve given them many opportunities to be successful,” Huffman said. “The message is clear that they have no intention of working with us.”