Months Before Reddit Purge, The_Donald Users Created a New Home
TheDonald.win mimics Reddit’s look and feel, minus the threat of so-called censorship
On Monday, Reddit banned thousands of subreddits including The_Donald, a conservative community of nearly 800,000 members accused of inciting violence, spreading white supremacist propaganda, and other repeat offenses since its creation in 2015. The takedown marked Reddit’s latest push to curb hate speech on the platform, and The_Donald was a ripe target for moderation.
But while the community was purged from Reddit, its members have been relocating to an alternate website for months now, suggesting that users were expecting the ban — and serving as a reminder that “deplatforming” is only so useful.
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Dozens of other members of the group baselessly claimed that protesters at the Capitol were Antifa
The offloading of The_Donald to its new home, TheDonald.win, has been in the works since July 2019, when the domain was anonymously registered according to a Whois lookup. By November, members of The_Donald were migrating to the new platform, according to Reddit users. While the size of the TheDonald.win user base is unknown, the website ranks 1,207 in the United States, according to traffic analysis company Alexa. (By comparison, similar Reddit clone Voat ranks 6,726 in the United States.) It was clearly designed to mimic Reddit’s look and feel, but without the threat of so-called censorship.
For social media platforms, moderating abuse can feel a lot like whack-a-mole. Strike down one gathering place and countless others emerge in its place. This becomes even more complicated when mass bans and other forms of moderation lead to the creation of new websites dedicated to unfettered speech, as Reddit has experienced on numerous occasions.