Reddit has become a hotbed of alt-right racism, sexism and hate: the site has done almost nothing to combat this.
Reddit, one of the largest sites in the U.S., is a diverse site with thousand of users all over the world. This level of diversity creates communities that can discuss anything from food to pictures of birds with Photoshopped arms. Anyone can create one of these communities with relative ease, and there is no limit to the number of communities a user can be engaged in: just find something you love and start typing. With a community for any topic, combined with a lax administrative attitude that allows subreddits (the name of these communities) to govern themselves, Reddit is a rich source of creativity, insight, free expression, and all around fun. This lax enforcement of sitewide rules, however, has shown to create a dangerous series of problems, particularly surrounding a specific political ideology that has gained a lot of traction in the past few years: white nationalism.
A quick skim through r/AgainstHateSubreddits (AHS), a community focused on bringing attention to the communities of hate on the site, shows exactly how rampant white nationalism is on Reddit. Some of the communities AHS calls out have actually received national media attention: r/The_Donald, a subreddit dedicated to glorifying the POTUS, received a good deal of attention after promoting the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that lead to the death of Heather Heyer. While Reddit sometimes shuts down communities after too much media attention, r/The_Donald came out of Charlottesville even stronger, and they aren't the only racist community thriving on the site.
Through a combination of memes, dog-whistles, and vague language, racism, sexism, nativism, Islamophobia, and all around hateful ideas flourish on Reddit's site. Here's a list of the more horrendous subreddits:
An obviously racist sub that, while quarantined, still has its audience.
A "mens-rights" subreddit that actually pushes both misogyny and general alt-right talking points.
With a little more than 33 thousand subscribers, r/frenworld has become one of the newest subreddits pushing white nationalism through the cover of ironic memes and child-like speech. A simple skim through the comments on many of the post show the true nature of the site.
This is a tougher one, as the subreddit's goal is itself a completely harmless thing. However, this goal of voicing unpopular opinions has given white nationalists a golden opportunity to spew their hateful rhetoric. Many of the sub's more popular post fit this description, with examples here, here, and here.
5. The most infamous of them all: r/The_Donald.
What started as a support site for candidate Trump, it quickly developed into "ironic" racist memes and then into an all-around alt-right cesspool. The sub has done a good job of keeping the more blatant aspects of their beliefs hidden, but a little bit of investigation easily uncovers the dog-whistles and dehumanization of anyone not them. The community is both large (739k subscribers) and active (almost always around 10k active) and does everything they can to promote the death of political opponents, call Muslims "feral animals," and blame women for being sexually assaulted. The most interesting thing about r/The_Donald is that the subreddit has received tons of negative media coverage over the years, and yet Reddit does nothing.
To be entirely honest, I love Reddit. It is easily my most active social media, and I love the amount of fresh and diverse content can be found there at any hour of the day. The site, however, really needs to do more to fight the rising white nationalism happening right in front of their nose. The situation, however, is sadly a lot more serious than Reddit admins are willing to admit. White nationalism is on the rise, and just last weekend another synagogue became the victim of a deadly shooting. Reddit must do more to fight this menace.
I know I've already plugged them once, but r/AgainstHateSubreddits deserves to be commemorated for the work they do to bring attention to these issues. If you see something on the site that is hateful or dangerous, please report it here.