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Reddit purges Nazi groups in new anti-hate crackdown

The news discussion site updates its rules regarding incitement of violence, calling earlier rules "too vague."

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The message on one subreddit pertaining racism after a rules overhaul was announced Wednesday.

Reddit

Reddit began purging Nazi, white supremacist and other hate-based groups on Wednesday after announcing new policy changes aimed at culling communities that incite violence.

The popular news discussion site said in a statement it decided to overhaul some rules regarding incitement of violence after determining they were "too vague." Reddit's new regulations prohibit content that "encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people," the company said in a statement.

For years since its founding in 2005, the site was a free-wheeling, nearly anything-goes collection of Internet forums with people discussing their struggles with cancer, swapping theories about "Star Wars" and debating politics. But it has also become a haven of racist and hateful communities.

To address that problem, the company laid out a set of new policies in 2015 that restricted what users can post on the site. Among posts banned were those that contained anything that incites violence, harassment, bullying or abuse.

Wednesday's revision is intended to put a finer point on the rules concerning violence.

"We did this to alleviate user and moderator confusion about allowable content on the site," Reddit said. "We also are making this update so that Reddit's content policy better reflects our values as a company."

After the policy was announced, Reddit users took to the thread to point out several subreddits advocating the alt-right and Nazism had been deleted, including r/Nazi, r/EuropeanNationalism and r/far_right. Racist-based subreddits such as r/racoonsareni**ers and r/whitesarecriminals were also banned.

When it comes to determining what violates the rules, Reddit administrator landoflobsters said "context is key," noting that sometimes posts within some subbreddits are "borderline." Landoflobsters said subreddits pertaining to BDSM and hunting would not be impacted.

This isn't the first time Reddit has targeted hate groups for purging. In August, after a surge of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the site banned a handful of communities with histories of discussions either endorsing violence or echoing racist ideology. Reddit announced another crackdown in November 2016 aimed at curbing abusive behavior related to the election of Donald Trump.

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