Reddit Prioritizes Community Building in Wake of Trump Group's Ban

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January 14, 2021
Following the deadly attack on the Capitol and the subsequent social media fallout, several platforms have moved to ban Trump-related groups and accounts. Reddit was among those entities to crack down on groups that had reveled in last week's mayhem at the Capitol and continued to promote it online.
"Our mission is to help everyone in the world find community and belonging and that means building communities that reflect our values, respect civil discourse, human dignity, and our site-wide policies are really clear," Jen Wong, Reddit chief operating officer, told Cheddar. "They prohibit hate, harassment, calls for violence, and we took action to ban the community r/DonaldTrump last week because they had repeated policy violations in the recent days regarding what happened at the Capitol," 
She also touted the size of Reddit's platform and its communities in helping users deal with a multitude of difficult topics during the pandemic, with even Harvard and MIT researchers using more than 800,000 subreddit posts to track COVID-19's impact on mental health.
"If you think about 2020, it was a really hard year, where all of these issues starting in March, in the pandemic, started to unfold almost weekly," Wong said, noting widespread issues users faced in their real lives, from figuring out how to homeschool kids to finding empty aisles when looking for toilet paper. 
"One of the most amazing things about Reddit is that everybody shared those issues and questions on Reddit week by week and it was real people helping other real people with real problems," she said.
The platform hasn't just been a valuable resource for researchers; the everyday user can also gain valuable insight on a seemingly-infinite number of topics, including product reviews, which came in handy during stay-at-home orders, said Wong.
As the pandemic forced most people to find new ways to entertain themselves and remain mentally active, Reddit, according to Wong, has tracked some popular trends that are likely to stay around in a post-coronavirus pandemic society. 
"I think Reddit provided a sense of belonging and comfort as well as distraction that I think was really standout and unique. So people came for music, they came for therapy, they came to learn how to bake sourdough, which I did, and I think some of those behaviors will continue," Wong noted.
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