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Reddit bans racist subreddit after co-founder Alexis Ohanian calls it out on Twitter

Reddit bans racist subreddit after co-founder Alexis Ohanian calls it out on Twitter


Ohanian resigned from his position on Reddit’s advisory board in June

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Reddit has banned another community dedicated to posting racist remarks on its platform — but only after co-founder Alexis Ohanian decided to report the subreddit. And not by actually reporting it to Reddit, but instead calling it out in a Twitter thread

Ohanian tweeted out his disgust for the subreddit to his nearly 340,000 Twitter followers after multiple users on Twitter brought it to his attention, with Ohanian expressing that the subreddit should be banned for violating Reddit’s content policy guidelines. Ohanian flagging toxic content via Twitter like he’s an ordinary internet user is interesting — mainly because he co-founded Reddit and likely has contacts still working there, even though he resigned from Reddit’s advisory board in June. He could have likely contacted someone working at Reddit and pointed out the violation.

Motherboard staff writer Samantha Cole visited the subreddit after reading Ohanian’s tweet and found that r/DegradeEbonyThots featured racist and / or sexist remarks targeted at Black women. The subreddit’s gone now, but we managed to find some screenshots, which give you an idea what type of content was posted there. Motherboard published its story about the subreddit being banned roughly two hours after Ohanian’s tweet, so it’s not clear whether the tweet or Cole’s communication with Reddit led to the ban.

Reddit’s history with racist content dates back years

If you visit the subreddit now, you’ll see it was banned for violating rule number one of its content policy, which reads that Reddit is “a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people.” 

Reddit’s history with racist content dates back years; in 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out that many racist subreddits were popular. In 2018, when The Verge asked Reddit CEO Steve Huffman if “obvious open racism” was against the site’s rules, he said “no.” In June, following the death of George Floyd, more than 800 moderators on Reddit signed an open letter demanding the company add a policy regarding hate speech. Later that month, Reddit announced that it had expanded its content policies while also banning more than 2,000 subreddits that were in violation.