As of approximately three hours ago, Reddit has begun a wave of new community bans, reminiscent of the culling during interim CEO Ellen Pao’s reign in 2015 that saw a handful of hate-based groups removed from the site. This time, Reddit’s leadership is taking aim at content and groups that incite violence, and the first groups to fall are Nazi and Nazi-sympathising subreddits.
The policy change announced on r/modnews (and not r/announcements, for reasons unknown) notes that previous site definitions for “inciting violence” were deemed not to be “comprehensive,” and have been amended. As site admin landoflobsters wrote:
[W]e found that the policy regarding “inciting” violence was too vague, and so we have made an effort to adjust it to be more clear and comprehensive. Going forward, we will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people; likewise, we will also take action against content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals. This applies to ALL content on Reddit, including memes, CSS/community styling, flair, subreddit names, and usernames.
Bad news for puerile idiots or propagandising fascists—great news for basically everyone else.
So far, at least seven communities have been kicked off of Reddit, including r/Nazi, r/EuropeanNationalism, and r/pol (an extension of the 4chan board of the same name.) Of these, the largest had under 7,000 subscribers and the smallest had just 25. One was previously “quarantined”—a state where communities with content deemed to be “extremely offensive or upsetting to the average redditor” are only available to logged-in users who know where to look.
Of course, speculation abounds among users as to whether or not this tweak in the site rules will be used to justify banning r/the_donald, the race-baiting, mod-threatening, and ostensibly Trump-centred community which has at various points declared “war” on the rest of Reddit.
We’ve reached out to Reddit for comment and will update if we hear back.