(Reuters) – Social media site Reddit on Monday shut down r/The_Donald, a forum used by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, and Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) live-streaming platform Twitch temporarily banned Trump’s official channel for violating Twitch’s policy on hateful speech.
FILE PHOTO: Reddit mascots are displayed at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman said in a post detailing changes to its content policies that communities and users that promoted hate based on identity or vulnerability would be banned. He said Reddit was banning about 2,000 subreddits, the majority of which were inactive.
In response to the actions by Reddit and Twitch, a Trump campaign spokesman directed people to Trump’s campaign app “to hear directly from the president.” He did not directly address the sites’ actions.
Earlier this month, as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the social network firm’s board seeking to be replaced by a Black candidate, Huffman said Reddit would strengthen its content policy.
Huffman also said Reddit should have moved sooner to restrict access to r/The_Donald, which it “quarantined” last year, citing threats of violence against police and public officials.
The new list of banned subreddits included the left-wing forum r/ChapoTrapHouse, which Huffman said had consistently hosted rule-breaking content. Only about 200 of the banned forums had more than 10 daily users. A list provided by Reddit showed r/The_Donald had an average of 7,780 daily active users, while r/ChapoTrapHouse had 42,949.
“All communities on Reddit must abide by our content policy in good faith. We banned r/The_Donald because it has not done so, despite every opportunity,” Huffman said.
Twitch said it had identified two streams from Trump’s account that violated its policies. One was a rebroadcast of a 2016 Trump rally in which the president said Mexico was sending rapists to the United States. The other was of his rally in Tulsa earlier this month, when he hypothesized about a “very tough hombre” breaking into a woman’s house.
“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch. In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed,” said a Twitch spokeswoman.
Social media companies’ actions on Trump’s content have been in the spotlight in recent weeks, as Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) diverged on how to handle inflammatory posts by the president amid nationwide anti-racism protests and ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Earlier this month, Snap Inc (SNAP.N) said it would no longer promote Trump’s account in its Discover section.
Trump joined Twitch, which says it has 15 million daily users, in October. Twitch is primarily a site where video gamers can livestream their games and chat with other users, though it also has channels focused on sports, music and politics.
A Twitch spokeswoman said the platform had told “the president’s team” last year that there were no exceptions on the site for political or newsworthy content that broke its rules.
In May, Twitch announced a new advisory council to help improve safety on the site, focusing on areas such as harassment and protection of marginalized groups. Last week, it said it would begin issuing permanent suspensions as part of investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment involving Twitch streamers.
Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford and Neha Malara; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman