The aggregation and discussion website took down nearly 2,000 subreddits — many of which were inactive — based on the rules. But it also discontinued two fairly prominent boards: r/ChapoTrapHouse, and r/The_Donald. The pages hosted fans of the left-wing podcast Chapo Trap House and Donald Trump, respectively.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman specifically pointed to Rules 1, 2 and 8 of the new content policy as informing Reddit’s action against r/The_Donald. The rules ban “attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people,” “spamming, vote manipulation, ban evasion, or subscriber fraud,” and “interfering with normal use of Reddit.”
“All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith,” Huffman said in a blog post. “We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity.”
Huffman said r/ChapoTrapHouse was banned “for similar reasons.” Though he didn’t enumerate specific rule violations, Huffman accused moderators there of failing to rein in the community when it posted rule-breaking content.
Virgil Texas, one of the Chapo Trap House hosts, told HuffPost the subreddit was run by fans and not affiliated with the show. Texas wasn’t particularly mournful of its passing.
“Deleting the Chapo and Trump subreddits is a good start,” he said, “and Reddit should continue until the entire website is deleted.”
The decision comes as Reddit faces a reckoning for hosting hate speech. Huffman, spurred to action by the Black Lives Matter movement, pledged earlier this month to more directly confront racism on the platform.
The promise drew a withering response from Reddit’s former CEO Ellen Pao, who saw it as much too little and far too late.
“I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence,” Pao tweeted at the company. “So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don’t get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long.”