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The company made the announcement on Sunday morning, noting that the platform will still allow users who support Trump and his administration. The users just aren’t allowed to voice their support for Trump on the platform.
“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy,” part of the statement read. “Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”
The company added that the ban is not an endorsement of any political party, and it’s also not an attempt at shunning conservative voices.
“We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions,” the statement read.
It also warned users to refrain from trying to “weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support,” and not to “antagonize conservative members for their unstated positions.”
Within hours of Ravelry’s announcement on Twitter, thousands of people began showing their support–with some urging other social media platforms to follow in its footsteps.
Thank you ravelry! The current political atmosphere is a direct result of 45’s administration and has affected people’s sensibilities and ability to be a decent person. I’ve never in my life (I’m 63) seen such vile behavior. Ever— lynn (@lmniehaus) June 23, 2019
Ravelry has been a leader in both technological development and community management in social media for the last decade. You better believe other platforms watch what they do and try to emulate their successes.— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) June 23, 2019
Deplatforming fascism is a good thing. Support Ravelry, and ask your favorite community sites when they will do the same thing. https://t.co/aXOw8K94vb— Gillian Smith (@gillianmsmith) June 23, 2019
Ravelry has 8 million members and is one of the largest and most influential sites dedicated to one of the most popular hobbies. What they do reverberates beyond a “niche.” I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here: Ravelry is one of the best, healthiest social media platforms.— Catherine Shu (@CatherineShu) June 23, 2019
It encouraged many to sign up for the platform–with some even taking up knitting.
This makes me want to start knitting again.— Snooz Ball (@TheSoundofSnooz) June 23, 2019
I’m only a beginner knitter and never heard of this site but now I’m gonna sign up! ☺️— katie ♡ (@k8tiekitten) June 23, 2019
Former journalist Hillary Sargent posted a Twitter thread detailing why she thought this was a bad move on Ravelry’s part.
“The way out of where we are as a country IS NOT to vilify every person who passively or actively supports @realDonaldTrump,” she wrote in a tweet. “Ravelry was never overrun with white supremacists sharing swastika afghan patterns. Suggesting that knitters who voted for Trump are dangerous is bonkers.”
This idea that making a protective bubble so you don’t have to interact with people who aren’t completely left of center is IDIOTIC. @ravelry just handed the right wing a win. Countdown to the @TuckerCarlson segment on this.— ★Hɪʟᴀʀʏ Sᴀʀɢᴇɴᴛ★ (@lilsarg) June 23, 2019
Others also suggested that this move borders on censorship and a strong political stance–straying from the platform’s agenda of inclusivity.
Refuters to that sentiment argued that this is just a matter of differentiating between morality and politics which, under the current administration, has become difficult to separate.
When your political and religious beliefs insist on harming others in a real-world way (aka Trumpers), that's where tolerance ends. Bye!— Jody Wallace (@jodywallace) June 23, 2019
What you’re missing here is the entire thing. It’s not politics, it’s principle. They believe Trump and his administration support white supremacy, so supporting him is also supporting white supremacy. They don’t want to enable that on their site.— SquintingDog (@clepro) June 23, 2019
It’s not clear whether users were being harassed by pro-Trump content and rhetoric. Ravelry did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
As a member of @ravelry sine March 2010, thats great! They can still knit and use the site. But the Trumpies on ravelry take joy in trolling progressives and its obnoxious.— klcomments (@klbak2009) June 23, 2019
I think it’s just the staff getting tired of of coping with the never-ending BS. Also, they’ve been more and more explicitly open to marginalized people recently.— Naomi Parkhurst (@naogannet) June 23, 2019
Recently, social media platforms have struggled to find the proper balance of ensuring the right to free speech while still moderating hate speech. Facebook recently banned numerous far-right figures but is also having a hard time keeping white supremacy and nationalism off its platform. Twitter is also researching whether banning white supremacists from its own platform would be a productive move.
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Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque