New York – June 29: Twitch temporarily suspended Donald Trump’s account on June 29 for hateful behavior, while the usually very permissive Reddit chat platform banned a fan forum from the President for violating its policies on incitement to hatred.
“Hate behavior is not allowed on Twitch. President Trump’s channel has been temporarily suspended. “
“Hate behavior is not allowed on Twitch. In accordance with our rules, President Trump’s channel has been temporarily suspended and the offending content has been removed, ”said a spokesperson for the Twitch streaming platform.
“We have banned (the group) r / The_Donald, because this community has repeatedly hosted and supported content that violates our first rule”, on the promotion of hate, has its side explained Reddit in a statement.
In the wave of the large-scale movement against systemic racism in the United States, social networks are facing renewed pressure to better police exchanges between users and prevent harassment, discrimination, and other insulting behavior.
They are particularly in the crosshairs of civil society for their perceived laxity towards the republican tenant of the White House.
We Are No Exception
In late May, Donald Trump made remarks deemed to be an incitement to violence against demonstrations of support for George Floyd, an African-American, asphyxiated by a white police officer.
Twitter has hidden this message. But Facebook’s refusal to intervene sparked outcry against the dominant network, and renewed indignation against the platforms perceived as accomplices to the often inflammatory words of the talkative president.
Twitch (an Amazon subsidiary) deleted two specific comments from Donald Trump that violated his policies.
The first date of his inaugural campaign rally, in 2015, when he had assured that the Mexican immigrants brought drugs and were “rapists”.
The second is of the same order and was pronounced during the recent meeting in Tulsa, for its re-election campaign.
The platform initially designed for broadcasting live video games has gradually opened up to other “broadcasters” who can create their channels, from political figures to artists.
The public interest in knowing the words of candidates and elected officials, in order to form their own opinion, is the preferred argument of Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of Facebook, to defend his more permissive approach.
But on Friday, the networking giant ended up giving ground, promising to better regulate hate-promoting ads and to mask problematic content, even from political figures.
The Reddit decision also proves that the platforms are pushed to their limits.
“So far we have shown goodwill to help them preserve their community, with warnings, quarantines, and more,” said the company statement, regarding the ban on the fan group of the president. The social network Reddit was founded 15 years ago, like a large forum, on the principle of unbridled freedom of expression, without safeguards.
As the dominant platforms like Facebook or Twitter have tightened their hate content rules, part of the American far-right has ended up on the Reddit or 4chan platforms. But for about two years, Reddit has been undertaking a major cleanup to get rid of so-called “toxic” groups and users.
In early June, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the platform and husband of tennis champion Serena Williams, resigned from the board of directors and asked the company to hire a black candidate to replace him.