It is pretty much a fact now, that Donald Trump and social media don’t mix so well. When the leader of the free world gets around to expressing his views on one of the very popular social media platforms, he either gets flagged (Twitter) or attracts a massive ad ban from multiple MNCs for the platform (Facebook). However, the latest Twitch ban and the suspension of the r/The_Donald subreddit are probably the most elaborate and daring displays of the war that continues to go on between Mr. Trump and the internet.
Let’s consider these situations one at a time. First, the Twitch ban. Trump is known for his vigorous speeches and rallies, that at least prove his mettle as an orator, if not a leader. However, as is the tradition with his rallies, he went a little too far at his kickoff rally leading up to that 2020 presidential elections, where he said that Mexico was sending rapists to the United States of America. As one would expect, Twitch, the well recognized streaming platform, did not take lightly to the remarks, and banned Donald Trump, even though the decision is temporary. Twitch also flagged racist comments at Trump’s recent rally in Tulsa.
“Like anyone else, politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content, and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules,” a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge. The statement was originally issued last year when Trump’s channel was launched.
Now, coming to the ban of the subreddit r/The_Donald, this one is a little more intricate. First off, this subreddit isn’t directly controlled by Donald Trump himself, even though he did do an ask me anything on it in 2016 (which means he knows the subreddit exists). Therefore, even though he isn’t the content producer, he is well aware of what the narrative of the subreddit is, and is probably in accordance with it.
That subreddit, which Donald Trump has been oh so frivolously been in contact with, albeit indirectly, has been banned, as Reddit makes a change in its policies regarding the proliferation of hate speech. That is right, the platform that has been ‘The Place’ to say just about anything, is putting a leash around the rabid dog that Reddit can be sometimes (due to negligible oversight). As a result, the ‘front page of the internet’ has banned close to 2,000 communities today after updating its content policy to more explicitly ban hate speech, including r/The_Donald, r/ChapoTrapHouse.
Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit is taking every step very crucially, seeing how the conversation around racial discrimination has managed to become the highlight of the month despite a global pandemic ravaging the world. In fact, the new Reddit policy is,”Remember the human. Reddit is a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people. Everyone has a right to use Reddit free of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence. Communities and people that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned.”
Thus, Huffman saying “I have to admit that I’ve struggled with balancing my values as an American, and around free speech and free expression, with my values and the company’s values around common human decency,” makes a lot of sense.
He added that the r/The_Donald subreddit had violated the site’s policies for years, and the time to control the blasphemy was nigh. “The community has consistently hosted and upvoted more rule-breaking content than average (Rule 1), antagonized us and other communities (Rules 2 and 8), and its mods have refused to meet our most basic expectations,” Huffman said in a blogpost.
Twitter has also been in a cold war with the POTUS, flagging multiple tweets from the billionaire for inciting hate speech. Facebook, which had turned a blind eye to Trump’s comments, was faced with an advertisement ban, which saw the likes of Ben and Jerry’s and Verizon boycotting the company. Thus, if you have a social media platform, it’s probably in your best interest to be Anti-Trump, at least for the moment.