Reddit shuts down 'alt-right' subreddit

The community felt the full force of the banhammer, not for hate speech or inciting violence, but for posting personal and confidential information.

Luke Lancaster Associate Editor / Australia
Luke Lancaster is an Associate Editor with CNET, based out of Australia. He spends his time with games (both board and video) and comics (both reading and writing).
Luke Lancaster
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The /r/altright page, as it appears today.


Online community Reddit has banned the "alt-right" subreddit, /r/altright. The ban came down on Wednesday, citing violation of Reddit's content policy. A similar subreddit, /r/alternativeright, was also banned, though no specific reason was given.

Reddit is a social platform built on users sharing and discussing content categorised into hundreds of smaller communities called subreddits. Each subreddit is based on a different area of interest.

The community is part of the self-described alt-right, a fringe conservative movement with links to white supremacy. LetThereBeWhite, a moderator of /r/altright, posted a message to new subscribers to the subreddit (accessed via a cached version) saying that "the Alt Right is a racial movement and has always been a racial movement... The mainstream media was not lying to you when they said we are full of white nationalists, racial realists and fascists."

Reddit's content policy specifically prohibits any content that "encourages or incites violence" or "threatens, harasses or bullies or encourages others to do so". However, it was neither of these points that led to /r/altright's ban. According to the redirected page, the community was banned for "the proliferation of personal and confidential information".

Some /r/altright users had been engaged in recent efforts to dox the person who punched alt-right personality Richard Spencer in the face. Another commenter, discussing the banning in a separate thread, said that the subreddit was "doxxing people who called for 'violence' on the altright". Doxxing, or searching for and publishing private information about a person like a phone number or home address, is done with the intent to harass or abuse the target.

Reddit, commenting on the ban, said that it was "very clear in our site terms of service that posting of personal information can get users banned from Reddit and we ask our communities not to post content that harasses or invites harassment. We have banned r/altright due to repeated violations of the terms of our content policy."

Reddit has previously banned other communities for hate speech, illegal content or exposing personal information.

The site's founder Alexis Ohanian, better known on Reddit as kn0thing, posted an open letter to the community earlier this week calling the Trump administration's immigration ban "not only potentially unconstitutional, but deeply un-American." Comments in reply to the letter called the site to task for doing little about the growing alt-right presence on the site.

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