Are Donald Trump Supporters Welcome on Reddit? CEO Steve Huffman Says Yes

Supporters of president Donald Trump are welcome on Reddit as long as they play by the rules, CEO Steve Huffman has said.

As the popular messageboard website ramps up enforcement on communities that "promote hate," the man spearheading the business has said in an interview with The New York Times that he does not want Reddit to be an "echo chamber."

Huffman clarified his stance after the decision was made to ban thousands of pages, known as subreddits, due to a new content policy announced Monday.

One casualty of the change was a once-thriving political page known as r/The_Donald, which hosted news, memes and discussions about the president, often while breaking the site's rules against harassment, violence or bullying, the CEO said.

"Look, nobody wants to be in an echo chamber, right? It's boring and unhelpful to read a one-sided view of any issue," Huffman told The New York Times, asked if he wanted Trump on Reddit. "We welcome political views across the spectrum.

He said: "I think Trump's rhetoric and campaign style is deliberately antagonistic, and that makes it easy to run afoul of our policies. But we have many conservatives on Reddit, and we have Trump supporters on Reddit who are perfectly capable of staying within our rules. And we hope that continues to be the case going forward."

Reddit's stricter content policy unveiled this week says, from now, any "communities and users that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned."

The company removed roughly 2,000 subreddits total, asserting in a statement that the "vast majority" were inactive. Alongside r/The_Donald, another page to fall victim to the ban was r/ChapoTrapHouse, tied to a left-wing podcast of the same name.

While boasting close to 800,000 members and previously being heavily active during the 2016 presidential election, activity on r/The_Donald plunged after it was "quarantined" by Reddit for posting content encouraging violence against public officials.

As reported by The Verge, Huffman had decided back in 2016 to prevent posts from the pro-Trump community from being shared on the front page after it violated the rules. Vice reported earlier this week that it now had under 8,000 weekly active users.

Explaining the reasons for the most-recent enforcement, Huffman said r/The_Donald moderators had "every opportunity" to abide by the rules, but failed.

"The community has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average, antagonized us and other communities and its mods have refused to meet our most basic expectations," he elaborated in a statement on Reddit.

"Views across the political spectrum are allowed on Reddit—but all communities must work within our policies and do so in good faith, without exception."

Echoing Huffman's stance on moderating political pages, Reddit's general counsel, Benjamin Lee said this week: "There's a home on Reddit for conservatives, there's a home on Reddit for liberals. There's a home on Reddit for Donald Trump."

Across the board, mainstream social media and tech platforms have started to take greater action against rule-breaking content shared by the president.

Twitter has now flagged and labeled multiple posts for violating policies against abusive behavior and glorification of violence, while picture sharing application Snapchat and live streaming platform Twitch also restricted his use of the services.

Last week, Facebook announced it will start to label "newsworthy" rule-breaking posts after it was widely criticized for not taking down a post by the president in which he appeared to suggest that U.S. authorities could start shooting looters.

Facebook is currently facing a growing advertising boycott organized by a coalition of civil rights groups accusing it of failing to combat hate speech.

Some right-wing commentators and Trump supporters claimed they were moving to an alternative "free speech" social networking rival known as Parler—but that, too, has already started to issue its own wave of bans for policy-breaking content.

A spokesperson for the president's re-election campaign told Newsweek this week that supporters to should download the Trump app "to hear directly from the president."

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump following a tour of Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin, June 25, 2020. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

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