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/r/The_Donald was a subreddit on the website Reddit for supporters of United States president-elect Donald Trump. Members of the online community often refer to themselves as "centipedes" and have been associated with the loose conservative group known as the "alt-right". Following the ban of the subreddit on June 29th, 2020, a standalone website bearing the name was launched, accommodating the subreddit's former audience.
On June 16th, 2015, Trump formally announced his bid for the Republican primaries in the upcoming 2016 U.S. presidential election. On June 27th, the /r/The_Donald subreddit was launched for supporters of Trump's candidacy. During the month of February 2016, /r/The_Donald became a trending subreddit four separate times, leading to an exponential increase in subscribers.
News Media Coverage
The subreddit has been widely covered by a variety of major news media outlets, including The New York Times, MSNBC and The Washington Post.
While the subreddit has a rule against racism/anti-Semitism, posts and comments expressing "Islamophobia" are not restricted. On February 10th, 2016, a /r/The_Donald moderator stickied a post announcing to "stop reporting Islamophobia" (shown below).
On June 13th, 2016, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced that the company was making changes to its front page algorithm to promote a more diverse array of posts from a variety of subreddits, following accusations that the company had prevented /r/The_Donald posts regarding the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting from reaching the front page. On June 16th, Huffman posted a follow-up announcement, claiming that any changes to the front page algorithm were not intended to target /r/The_Donald posts. On October 27th, the front page of Reddit's /r/all view became entirely populated with posts from /r/The_Donald (shown below). The following day, Reddit admins revealed that the site's algorithms could not keep up with the pace of voting from /r/The_Donald users.
On September 17th, 2016, moderator TehDonald of the /r/the_donald subreddit submitted a post promoting the pro-Trump non-profit organization Nimble America, remarking that the community had “proven that shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real.” Meanwhile, Redditor NimbleRichMan submitted a /r/the_donald post asking for help defeating Hillary Clinton by donating to Nimble America. In the comments section, Milo Yiannopoulos replied with an endorsement of /u/NimbleRichMan, claiming he knew him personally. A majority of the subreddit’s community denounced Nimble America, with many speculating that it was a scam and form of "astroturfing."
On November 23rd, 2016, Redditor OhSnapYouGotServed submitted a thread accusing Reddit admins of editing /r/The_Donald user's comments, providing screenshots of insulting comments directed at Huffman, which had been changed to insult /r/The_Donald moderators. Within four days, the post gathered upwards of 32,900 votes (60% upvoted) and 7,100 comments. That day, Huffman replied to the post, admitting that he had replaced his name with /r/The_Donald moderators in several insulting comments after he grew frustrated "getting called a pedophile constantly" following the removal of the /r/pizzagate subreddit (shown below).
That same day, Reddit /r/Music and /r/Food moderator UnimatrixZeroOne leaked screenshots of a private chatroom for moderators and administrations, . The following day, the news site Inquir.io published an interview with UnimatrixZeroOne about the leak, in which he expressed regret for not censoring the chat log.
On May 18th, 2017, /r/The_Donald moderator OhSnapYouGotServed posted an announcement that the Reddit staff were "trying to kill" the subreddit, urging subscribers to not perform any behaviors that could be considered rule breaking and accusing the admins of having bias against the /r/The_Donald community. Meanwhile, Redditor JelloDarkness submitted a post asking "What's up with /r/the_donald 'leaving Reddit'?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop, where it gathered upwards of 14,200 points (82% upvoted) and 970 comments within 48 hours. The following day, OhSnapYouGotServed was banned for 72 hours "enabling harassment of other users and interference with other communities."
On May 20th, /r/The_Donald moderator shadowman3001 submitted a post titled "First universities. Then the internet. Then they imprison you for your speech," revealing that the /r/The_Donald mods OhSnapYouGotServed, JesusWoreNikeSlides and Henry had been removed as moderators by Reddit administrators. Shortly after, the subreddit was made private by the remaining moderators, who left a notice on the page informing viewers that they had "temporarily gone dark in a show of strength against these unfair restrictions.
Meanwhile, a megathread about /r/the_donald was submitted to /r/OutOfTheLoop by moderator awkwardtheturtle, which garnered upwards of 13,200 points (73% upvoted) and 3,100 comments within 13 hours. At approximately 1:30pm EST that day, /r/The_Donald was made public after being closed for 12 hours. In a stickied post on the subreddit, moderator Treteste announced that the remaining moderator team would not be deterred from losing their top three moderators.
2019 Quarantine and 2020 Ban
On June 24th, 2019, the progressive news site Media Matters published an article titled "A pro-Trump subreddit is full of calls for violence in support of Oregon Republicans," which
cited several posts made on the subreddit, including users who stated they would have “no problems shooting a cop trying to strip rights from Citizens" and that "rifles are the only way we're going to get any peace in our lives ever again."
Two days later, Redditor shadowman3001 posted a note to /r/The_Donald moderators from Reddit administrators, stating the community had been quarantined for “behavior in the form of encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon.” As part of being quarantined, users are shown a warning page requiring them to opt-in to view any content on the feed and posts on the subreddit are not shown in non-subscription-based feeds on the site.
That day, The Daily Beast published an article titled "Reddit ‘Quarantines’ Pro-Trump Subreddit Over Anti-Police Threats," which included a statement from a Reddit spokesperson about the incident:
"Recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy. As a result, we have actioned individual users and quarantined the subreddit."
On June 29th, 2020, /r/The_donald was banned. In the following days, the website The Donald, largely copying the design of the subreddit, was launched, accommodating its former audience.
Within 17 months of launch, the subreddit gained over 306,000 subscribers. During the month of November 2016, the subreddit received over 4.3 million unique visitors and 92 million pageviews.
 Reddit – /r/The_Donald
 Reddit – The Admins are suffering from low energy
 Inquir.io (via Wayback Machine) – Interview with Reddit Moderator That Leaked CEOs Collusion and Bias
 Reddit – /r/shittychangelog
 Reddit – Lets talk about Orlando
 Reddit – Jesus Christ people stop reporting Islamophobia
 Motherboard – How r/the_donald Became a Melting Pot of Frustration and Hate
 The New York Times – Donald Trump Finds Support in Reddits Unruly Corners
 MSNBC – How an army of pro-Donald Trump trolls are taking over Reddit
 The Washington Post – Trumps meme brigade took over Reddit
 Reddit – spez comment
 Reddit – The Future of /r/The_Donald
 Reddit (via Wayback Machine) – Announcement
 Reddit (via Wayback Machine) – OhSnapHas Been Suspended
 Reddit – What's up with /r/the_donald leaving Reddit
 WebArchive – First universites then the internet
 Reddit – /r/the_donald has gone private
 Reddit – /r/The_Donald
 The Daily Beast – Reddit Quarantines Pro-Trump Subreddit Over Anti-Police Threats
 Media Matters – A pro-Trump subreddit is full of calls for violence in support of Oregon Republicans
 Reddit – Quarantined Subreddits
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