Today, Reddit put subreddit “The_Donald” -- its most prominent forum for supporters of President Donald Trump -- under quarantine due to “threats of violence against police and public officials,” as confirmed by a Reddit spokesperson. Trump has relied more than once on the subreddit for digital content to amplify from his own social media accounts.
As Media Matters previously reported, the subreddit “The_Donald” was full of posts calling for or glorifying violence, in open violation of Reddit’s “account and community restrictions.” While Reddit has previously shut down other subreddits for violations of this policy, “The_Donald” was merely quarantined. As explained by the platform’s rules, a quarantine restricts a subreddit “from being accidentally viewed by those who do not wish to do so” because its contents are “extremely offensive or upsetting to the average redditor.” The platform cited a sensitivity to “political speech” in its explanation for why it was placing the pro-Trump forum under quarantine.
The forum has historically served Trump and his staffers as a useful mine for memes and other digital content. As reported by Politico, Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, “regularly monitors Reddit, with a particular focus on the pro-Trump” subreddit “The_Donald,” which likely explains, for example, a Trump tweet directed at Rosie O’Donnell containing a point that was made 20 minutes before on Reddit’s “The_Donald.”
On different occasions, Trump tweeted out videos that originated on “The_Donald,” including one that depicted the president beating up CNN, and another one in which he amplified an unhinged get-out-the-vote video. While Trump and his staff have made no secret of their reliance on the prominent pro-Trump forum for the production of digital propaganda, their amplification of the forum’s content also implies validation of its most toxic posts, of which a limited sample includes:
Posts pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, was murdered for his involvement in leaking stolen emails.
A post pushing an absurd hoax targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin.