Reddit has been home to the largest pro-Donald Trump community on the Internet since even before the 2016 election.
The_Donald — the name of the group — is now censored, joining the growing list of conservative voices silenced or stifled by Big Tech.
The community hosts over 755,000 subscribers, most of whom are avowed supporters of President Trump.
“They decided that claiming we were threatening cops might get conservatives against us, but at the end of the day it's just political censorship." - The_Donald moderating team
Speaking to Human Events, Shadowman3001—a self-identified spokesman for The_Donald’s moderating team—believes the censorship of the community may be less than coincidental.
It happened following the publication of a Media Matters article calling for the community to be shut down.
Reddit’s decision to censor the group also falls on the day of the first Democratic primary debate.
Reddit placed the community in “quarantined” status, preventing mobile users accessing it—among other penalties.
The community can’t be searched for, it can’t appear on the main page in any capacity, and visiting users are greeted with an ominous message to warn them away from it.
Likewise, non-members cannot view the page unless they sign up for a Reddit account, something few Reddit users do.
The official reason given is alleged threats aimed at law enforcement in relation to a post about a police standoff in Oregon.
According to the moderator, the post “didn't really contain threats toward [Law Enforcement Officer], given that T_D is probably the most pro-LEO place on the internet.”
The subreddit is home to memes and posts favorable to law enforcement, and regularly hosts links to the popular police YouTube channel Donut Operator.
Contradicting Reddit's official reasoning, the moderator says that the censorship boils down to the role the community played in spreading the Project Veritas Google investigation. Project Veritas’ company account and community were both banned for vague terms-of-service violations.
“They decided that claiming we were threatening cops might get conservatives against us, but at the end of the day it's just political censorship,” he said.
[caption id="attachment_178989" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] Reddit's r/The_Donald[/caption]
The pro-MAGA community is the only one on the Reddit that has to follow a special set of rules that every other community on the website does not adhere to. In almost every other community (or “subreddit”), the post with the most votes will land on the front page, provided it has more upvotes than submissions in other communities.
By suppressing the community, Reddit can effectively disarm Donald Trump’s political base and its ability to spread memes favorable to conservatives.
“Reddit has been finding methods to methodically censor The_Donald for years now,” explained the moderator. “Enforcing special rules that only The_Donald has to follow, largely screening our submissions from reaching the front page, allowing far-left communities to harass and dox our members (to the point of creating a chrome extension that marks anyone that posts on The_Donald).”
Despite usually enough votes to dwarf other submissions on Reddit, posts on The_Donald are regularly prevented from appearing on the front page. In contrast, posts from far-left communities like r/ChapoTrapHouse and r/LateStageCapitalism grace the front page of the Conde Nast-owned platform, providing leftists with a far bigger voice than their conservative counterparts.
“This is their next step, and is generally Reddit's step just before outright banning a community,” he said. “Their reasoning is hardly sound, given that they claim they've had to spend too much time removing content on the subreddit that violates site-wide rules, yet their own logs show less than one removal/day.”
“Technically they claim you can get out of quarantine by following the rules, but we already follow the rules, and no subreddit has ever gotten out, generally just gotten banned,” he added.
For added context, the moderator revealed that only two weeks ago, Reddit stripped the The_Donald’s top moderator of his abilities to moderate while simultaneously demanding stricter moderation against terms-of-service violations.
The_Donald played a major role in the months leading to Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 elections. In 2018, researchers at University College London found that The_Donald was responsible for spreading more pro-Trump memes than anywhere else on the internet, by far.
Researchers say that the memes posted on The_Donald tended to be “fun,” in contrast to racially-charged political memes on Gab and 4chan’s /pol/ board.
When measuring the influence each community has with respect to disseminating memes to other Web communities, we found that /pol/ has the largest overall influence for racist and political memes, however, /pol/ was the least efficient, i.e., in terms of influence w.r.t. the total number of memes posted, while The Donald is very successful in pushing memes to both fringe and mainstream Web communities.
There is nothing more disarming to politics than comedy, which would explain why the powers-that-be at Reddit are scared of The_Donald. By suppressing the community, Reddit can effectively disarm Donald Trump’s political base and its ability to spread memes favorable to conservatives.
The Left is, in other words, seizing the memes of production—and The_Donald won’t be its last stop.
Ian Miles Cheong is the managing editor of Human Events