Reddit, YouTube, and Twitch are taking major steps to crack down on hate speech from pro-Trump and far-right groups

Reddit, YouTube, and Twitch are taking major steps to crack down on hate speech from pro-Trump and far-right groups
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.Zach Gibson/Steve Jennings/Getty Images
  • Major social media platforms on Monday took action against Trump, pro-Trump groups, and far-right accounts for violating their policies against hate speech.
  • Reddit banned r/The_Donald, the largest pro-Trump subreddit, Twitch suspended Trump's official account, and YouTube banned a number of prominent white supremacists' channels.
  • The moves come as major advertisers are boycotting Facebook over the company's refusal to take more aggressive action against hate speech and misinformation.

Reddit, Amazon subsidiary Twitch, and Google's YouTube took actions on Monday against prominent pro-Trump and far-right accounts and groups, as well as Trump himself, in an attempt to crack down on hate speech on their platforms.

Reddit banned more than 2,000 subreddits that regularly broke its rules about harassment, hate speech, and targeting, including r/The_Donald, a pro-Trump forum with more than 790,000 users.

"The community has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average ... and its mods have refused to meet our most basic expectations," CEO Steve Huffman wrote in a blog post Monday.

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The subreddits were banned as part of Reddit's enforcement of a new policy banning people or subreddits who "promote hate based on identity or vulnerability" or target "victims of a major violent event and their families."

Twitch, a video streaming platform popular among gamers, said it had temporarily suspended President Donald Trump's official account for violating its hateful-conduct rules.


"Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch," the company said in a statement. "In line with our policies, President Trump's channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed."

Twitch cited two examples of "offending content" from Trump's account, one from a campaign rally in 2016 and another from Trump's recent campaign event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, both of which showed the president making racist comments about Mexican Americans.

Also on Monday, YouTube announced it had banned the accounts of many popular white supremacists, including longtime Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, Richard Spencer, and Stefan Molyneux, citing their violations of YouTube's hate speech guidelines.

"We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement provided to Business Insider.

A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge, which first reported the news: "After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies."


Social media companies face growing pressure over hate speech

The actions by Reddit, Twitch, and YouTube came the same day that a long list of major brands announced they would pause advertising on Facebook and subsidiary Instagram, citing inaction around hate speech.

Civil rights groups including the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League called for the advertising boycott earlier this month following Facebook's refusal to take action against controversial posts by Trump in which he called those protesting the death of George Floyd "thugs" and suggested violence against them.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Facebook's decision not to label or remove the posts at the time, while Twitter labeled identical tweets from Trump as "glorifying violence."

On Friday, after clothing retailer The North Face joined the Facebook boycott, other major brands including Verizon, Unilever, Honda, Coca-Cola, and Ben & Jerry's said they too would join.

In response, Facebook announced a slew of new rules around hate speech and misinformation, but so far, those changes don't appear to have appeased advertisers


On Monday, the boycott grew significantly as Starbucks, Adidas, PepsiCo, Denny's, Diageo, Conagra Foods, and Clorox said they would also pause ad spending on the platform.

Some of the companies also announced a pause on advertising across all social media platforms, citing the broader problem of their role in amplifying misinformation and hate speech.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, racial justice protests, and upcoming elections, social media companies are facing growing pressure to get tougher on moderating harmful content and misinformation.

Aaron Holmes, Ben Gilbert, Rachel Greenspan, Isobel Asher Hamilton, and Rob Price contributed reporting for this story.