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Discord bans r/WallStreetBets server (for hate speech)

Discord has taken down the server affiliated with WallStreetBets, apparently for its use of hate speech.

The GameStop trading fiasco has taken a new turn. Discord has announced that it's banning the /r/WallStreetBets server from the platform.

While all of the finance industry is in an uproar over what a small group of redditors have accomplished (driving up the price of GameStop stock to counter a planned short sell by a hedge fund group), Discord says its reasons are not tied to the group's current news activity. It's apparently being banned for violating the platform's hate speech policies.

"The server has been on our Trust & Safety team’s radar for some time due to occasional content that violates our Community Guidelines, including hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation," the company said in a statement. "Over the past few months, we have issued multiple warnings to the server admin."

"Today, we decided to remove the server and its owner from Discord for continuing to allow hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings."

Elsewhere, the group's Reddit page suddenly switched to private, (Updated: it's public again) though it's unclear if this is over language used in the group or over the possibility that the US Securities and Exchange Commission might be monitoring it for fraudulent activity.

A colleague who checked in on the subreddit briefly confirmed to Gamasutra that one could quickly find ableist slurs all over the group.

This is the second time Discord has banned a server that's affiliated with a specific Subreddit in the last month. The first was the TheDonald Discord server, which was shut down after the right-wing siege of the US Capitol on January 6th.

Discord seemed intent on communicating that today's ban was not related to the group's successful manipulation of GameStop's stock price. "To be clear, we did not ban this server due to financial fraud related to GameStop or other stocks. Discord welcomes a broad variety of personal finance discussions, from investment clubs and day traders to college students and professional financial advisors," it stated.

"We are monitoring this situation and in the event there are allegations of illegal activities, we will cooperate with authorities as appropriate."

Update 1/28: WallStreetBets is back on Discord, this time with Discord's explicit blessing and guidance. According to a statement delivered to The Verge, the return is contingent on WSB improving moderation practices and sticking to the platform's community guidelines. 

"We have reached out to the moderators to provide them with support and advice, like we do for many of our large communities," reads a portion of that statement.

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