A pro-Trump forum is helping other toxic subreddits relaunch outside of Reddit

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Citation Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Update (7/2/20): The article has been updated with an additional forum. We will update as more forums are added.

Moderators for the now-banned subreddit “r/The_Donald” have helped other subreddits with toxic content find a new home, using a backup forum created to circumvent previous Reddit restrictions. Although Reddit banned some of these subreddits this month, r/The_Donald and others have had ample time to prepare.

On June 29, Reddit announced that it was banning about 2,000 subreddits in an attempt to make its policy against hate speech more explicit. One of those banned forums is r/The_Donald, a pro-Trump subreddit known for spreading misinformation and bigoted content. The subreddit was quarantined in June 2019 by the platform following a Media Matters report on its users issuing calls to violence against law enforcement. In the months following the quarantine, the subreddit’s moderators created a backup forum called TheDonald.win, which they then promoted on r/The_Donald and which the subreddit’s users officially moved to earlier this year after a further crackdown from Reddit.

TheDonald.win is now extending its efforts beyond just providing space for users of r/The_Donald. During June (and particularly since Reddit’s announcement yesterday), the moderators have helped launch new forums for multiple subreddits under the existing “.win” infrastructure. Thus far, the forums include:

  • A forum for “r/GavinMcInnes” and “r/CensoredTV,” subreddits dedicated to Gavin McInnes, the founder of the far-right gang the Proud Boys, and his streaming platform censored.tv, respectively. The GavinMcInnes subreddit was banned earlier this year for “posting violent content.” While announcing the launch of the new forum, a moderator thanked TheDonald.win “for not only giving us a place, but letting us roll this out early.” McInnes has already promoted the new forum on the social media platform Parler.
  • A forum for “r/ConsumeProduct,” which was also banned on June 29 for hate speech. A moderator for the new forum when announcing its launch gave a “big special thanks to the The_Donald team for allowing us to be here.” A moderator for TheDonald.win wrote after r/ConsumeProduct’s ban, “We had started working with the /r/ConsumeProduct moderators to provide a new home for them at Win prior to their ban earlier today.”

The launches of these new forums suggest that Reddit’s delay in implementing its ban, particularly of r/The_Donald, seem to have come at a price, allowing the subreddit time to create a whole new platform with even fewer restrictions for some of Reddit’s more toxic spaces.