An ad that ran on Reddit touted a dating site for “white Europeans” that warns, “Dear women of the West: Without white children we will perish.”
The ad for WhiteDate.Net, a promoted post from an account that appears to be run by the dating site, called for a “trad revolution”—trad being short for traditional. “Be part of the Trad Revolution that has been evolving in white communities where masculine men court the feminine women with the explicit objective to continue their lineage,” the ad says.
The dating site includes references to “white genocide” and the “main solutions” to prevent it.
On Thursday, a Reddit spokeswoman said the company “mistakenly” approved the ad Wednesday night after it slipped past human reviewers. The company caught it and took it down the next day, she said.
“We do our best to enforce our ads policies across both direct and programmatic ads; but in this case, a promoted post that was in violation of our ads policy was mistakenly approved,” the spokeswoman said by e-mail. “In light of this incident, we are reviewing our screening processes to ensure similar mistakes don’t occur in the future.”
Reddit is a site where users create and run thousands of communities around mainstream and niche topics like TV, politics, cute animals and internet memes. The users submit links, photos and videos to the relevant forums, and the crowd votes up or down, giving posts more visibility the more votes they receive.
Reddit has been investing in its mobile app and recently redesigned its site, long known for a primitive web 1.0 style, to make it easier to navigate. It has also built out its ad products, including promoted posts, which have the same commenting and voting features as unpaid posts but receive more visibility.
Reddit also has a self-serve ad platform to automate the buying and delivery process.
That’s characteristic of many digital ad businesses, where algorithms and machines form the main defenses against bad ads. Last year, Facebook, Google and Twitter were all found to be open for exploitation by malicious actors who could target ads based on racially charged terms. Just last month, an ad ran on Snapchat that made light of domestic abuse, asking viewers if they would rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown.
The seemingly lax safeguards on digital have caused concern among many top brands over the past year. In February, Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, told social media platforms to clean up toxic content. “Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, do not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society,” Weed said.
Reddit has faced many of the same problems with objectionable and offensive unpaid content that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have all confronted. There have been concerns, in particular, around forums on Reddit that could promote racism and sexism.
The site has banned communities including some with racist names that were dedicated to bashing minorities. The account behind WhiteDate.Net still has a Reddit page, but the company said it was banned from advertising on the site.
“When we identify or are notified of an ad that’s against our policy, we remove the ad, contact the advertiser and inform them of their specific infraction,” the spokeswoman said. “In some cases, we ban them from continued advertising, which we’ve done in this instance.”