reddit has seen some major alterations in its culture over the years since its inception. Known for its policy of open borders, Reddit allows most anything to form a community within its walls. Recently, however, it has seen a radical growth in subs with a penchant for hate.

Fat People Hate

On June 10th, 2015, a slew of hate-based subreddits were banned by the Reddit administration. The well known r/fatpeoplehate was taken down, along with a group of other subreddits, whose topics ranged from homophobia to racism. This was a positive step in the right direction for the front-page of the internet, but a larger movement was beginning to take shape that Reddit was not prepared for.

The Rise of the Alt-right

The wake of the controversial US election and Donald Trump saw the rise of several alt-right subreddits, with r/the_donald (the unofficial Trump support sub) at the helm. In February, two of these subs were outright banned: r/altright and r/alternative right, for the dissemination of personal information. The charges laid at the feet of these subreddits seem innocuous at a glance, but users of Reddit will remember the hateful memes and conversations which populated those forums. These subs were filled with anti-immigration, anti-islamic rhetoric day in, and day out. At the present moment, some of these subs remain active, including r/the_donald.

The Donald

Currently, the flagship of the alt-right movement is r/the_donald, a self-proclaimed 24/7 Donald Trump rally.

This sub is nearly 400,000 strong, and exists to perpetually upvote positive information about Trump. Any dissent is swiftly banned by administrations, so much so that a popular subreddit has opened up titled r/banned_fromthedonald, for the large population who have been banned. Other subreddits, such as r/MarchAgainstTrump and r/esist have formed also, to support dissenting views against the president and his rabid group of followers.

This subreddit is populated by memes regarding Trump, but most of its content revolves around hatred of specific groups: liberals, muslims, illegal-immigrants, ISIS, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Indeed, the subreddit seems to function almost solely on having an enemy to froth-at-the-mouth over. They focus on terrorist attacks across the globe, so long as those terrorist attacks are perpetrated by muslims.

Other terrorist attacks – such as ones committed by militant right-wingers – are ignored completely. The sub is not a place for discussion, just a radical type of hate filled hype train focused on radicalization.

A Terrible Display

On May 7th, 2017, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron won the election against Marine Le Pen. Le Pen was the favored candidate by members of r/The_Donald, and her loss seemed to send the users there into a kind of madness. The sub became flooded with drawing and memes about the death of France due to Muslim invasion, some going as far as showing Muslims cooking on a spit over an open flame, like a roasted pig. And these posts were not fringe: they were being feverishly propelled to their front-page with thousands of upvotes.

How Open is Too Open?

Reddit has enjoyed success from its ability to be a hub for all kinds of people. The website has something for everyone: from metal guitar to politics, from tinder to carpentry, there is truly a subreddit for everything. Unfortunately, the bigots of the world have found a home, there, too. And they are actively using it as a platform for radicalization. It is time for the Reddit administration to step in and continue put a stop to the proliferation of hatred on their platform.