After months of controversy, Reddit has banned two popular subreddits frequented by members of the alt-right, the online sect of Trump followers mostly known for tweeting pictures of a cartoon frog dressed as Joseph Goebbels.
The r/altright and r/alternativeright forums are now inaccessible, “due to a violation of our content policy, specifically, the proliferation of personal and confidential information,” the pages now read. In other words, someone got, or was about to get, doxxed — to have their personal information, like phone number, home address, or real name published. Violations of privacy are probably the biggest sin one can commit on Reddit, and the one type of speech moderators can be assured a large majority of Reddit users will not tolerate.
Calls for large platforms like Reddit and Twitter, where the meme-happy far right has spawned and evolved, to clean up their acts have been growing in the wake of the presidential election. Twitter recently culled some prominent alt-right users — many were later reinstated — and now it appears that Reddit is looking to do the same. The question of an alt-right ban on public forums is now mainly a question of when, not if.
It’s not quite that there’s no place for the right wing on Reddit. Left intact is r/the_donald, the primary gathering place for Donald Trump stans. That forum’s relationship with Reddit is tense — not only is the subreddit ideologically opposed to its corporate hosts (the company has come out against Trump’s immigration ban), but it’s engaged in public battles with Reddit administrators over the subreddit’s aggressive promotion of links, artificially surfacing r/the_donald to Reddit’s master link page, r/all. No doubt Reddit’s management is still watching the forum closely.
A high-ranking Reddit moderator told Gizmodo that r/altright users “were encouraging users to go to some kind of ‘bounty’ site, where users collaborate to attempt to gather personal information on targets” — possibly alt-right persona Chuck Johnson’s WeSearchr platform. Users on Voat, a popular Reddit clone for the anti-PC crowd, believe the most recent doxxing to be related to the man who punched prominent Nazi Richard Spencer in the face, on Inauguration Day.
A new Voat alt-right forum, v/altright, has already sprung up. As of now it has just over 500 subscribers. In a thread welcoming “refugees from Reddit” (irony unacknowledged), user PenetratorHammer wrote, “What a coincidence, that right after [Ohanian] virtue signal-vomited some shit about immigrants, and the resulting deluge of comments about how /r/altright ought to be banned, it was. I can’t wait till that liberal bukakke fest drowns in its own AIDS-ridden cum.”
“I just can’t fuckkng [sic] believe it,” Controlaltleft wrote. “I fucking hate Jews now.” Shocking that Reddit decided against letting this vibrant community grow.