The social notworking site Reddit is finally going to crack down on Orangemen carrying out online harassment campaigns against those who fail to support Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump.
The problem has been ongoing for a while based around a collection of trolls who inhabit a couple of groups dedicated to Trump the biggest being r/The_Donald. The attacks are often racist, sexist and bullying, but Reddit has been attempting to negotiate treaties with the main participants. After all the site is supposed to be about free speech.
However, all that changed when the trolls, empowered by their election win, decided to attack the Reddit Chief Executive Steve Huffman. Suddenly the gloves are coming off.
Huffman said that Reddit’s content policy prohibits harassment, but that it had not been adequately enforced.
“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”
Reddit will also monitor user reports, add greater filtering capacity, and be more proactive role in policing its platform rather than relying on community moderators.
Last week, Reddit banned Pizzagate, a community devoted to a conspiracy theory, with no evidence to back it up, that links Clinton to a pedophile ring at a Washington, DC pizza parlour.
Reddit has a more permissive attitude than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to what it allows on its site, but r/The_Donald users frequently crossed a line, Huffman said, including by trying to manipulate voting to ensure their posts appear on prominent Reddit pages.
Reddit has stepped up its efforts to combat abuse on the site over the past year, creating what it called an “anti-evil” team of engineers dedicated to fighting harassment.
“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” Huffman said.
In the past, Reddit has worked with moderators of communities to try to enforce its rules.
With r/The_Donald in particular, “we haven’t found that to be particularly effective. We might see flashes of success, but things kind of revert,” Huffman said.
Huffman said he had been asked by many Reddit users “to ban r/The_Donald outright, but he had rejected that idea, because “if there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard”.