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Reddit Banned A Page That Trafficked In White Supremacist Content, But The Problem Is Much Bigger

Reddit is still home to communities such as /r/whitenationalism, /r/gentilesunited, and /r/whitebeauty, which promotes "fascist beauty standards."

Posted on September 11, 2018, at 3:59 p.m. ET

The /r/milliondollarextreme subreddit

Reddit has banned the subreddit for Million Dollar Extreme, a comedy group popular with the alt-right that briefly had a sketch show on Adult Swim in 2016.

Before it was shuttered, the /r/milliondollarextreme subreddit had more than 43,000 subscribers, making it one of the more active Reddit communities where white supremacist and white nationalist content was shared. An archived version of the page preserved in Google cache shows the subreddit on Monday featured posts mocking nonwhite people, vilifying transgender people, and claiming Jews are trying to normalize pedophilia.

"As of September 10th, r/miliondollarextreme and associate subreddits have been banned for violating our violent content rules," a Reddit spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We are very clear in our site terms of service that posting content that incites violence will get users and communities banned from Reddit."

The subreddits /r/milliondollarextreme2 and /r/billionshekelsupreme were also banned.

Million Dollar Extreme is led by Sam Hyde, a notorious right-wing troll whose name frequently pops up after mass shootings as his fans flood social media with false claims that he is the suspect. The MDE style of comedy frequently targets liberal cultural norms and political correctness. Hyde has also been linked to well-known white supremacists. He reportedly donated $5,000 to the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website in 2017 and was photographed giving a Nazi salute alongside the hacker white supremacist Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer.

The comedy group reached peak popularity in 2016, when Cartoon Network gave them a late-night slot on Adult Swim. The show Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace was canceled after six episodes amid scrutiny over the group's ties to the alt-right, which started as an online subculture hostile to political correctness but has since coalesced into an explicitly white nationalist movement.

Despite Reddit's crackdown on Million Dollar Extreme, many other subreddits promoting white supremacy, white nationalism, and fascism are easily accessible on Reddit, which is the fifth most popular website in the United States, according to Alexa rankings.

These subreddits include: /r/whitenationalism, which has thousands of subscribers; /r/darkenlightenment, which promotes a nihilistic worldview opposed to democracy and egalitarianism; /r/gentilesunited, an anti-Semitic community that blames Jews for the world's ills; and /r/whitebeauty, which promotes "fascist beauty standards," according to the page's description.

In response to questions about Reddit's approach to white supremacist content on the site, the spokesperson referred BuzzFeed News to a New Yorker article published earlier this year, which examined the company's efforts to detoxify the platform while retaining its anything-goes ethos.

Social media companies have struggled with that balance, but have grown more assertive in policing content amid a backlash from users and lawmakers over how these platforms have been abused by states, trolls, and bigots. In recent weeks Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory site Infowars were kicked off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Million Dollar Extreme's YouTube and Instagram pages were removed earlier this year, and Hyde's personal Twitter account was suspended in 2017 (although he appears to be tweeting from a new account).

BuzzFeed News emailed Hyde asking for comment about the social media bans. He responded with a racial slur.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.