Reddit has begun banning pages for Nazi, white supremacist, alt-right and other hate-based groups from its site as part of its new policy change and crackdown on violent content. The company said it updated its rules regarding violent content and messaging on Wednesday (25 October) and has started banning the groups that host such content.

"We did this to alleviate user and moderator confusion about allowable content on the site," Reddit said in an administrative post. "We also are making this update so that Reddit's content policy better reflects our values as a company.

"In particular, we found that the policy regarding "inciting" violence was too vague, and so we have made an effort to adjust it to be more clear and comprehensive. Going forward, we will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people."

The site will also take action against content that glorifies or encourages animal abuse as well.

"This applies to ALL content on Reddit, including memes, CSS/community styling, flair, subreddit names, and usernames," the site said. "We understand that enforcing this policy may often require subjective judgment, so all of the usual caveats apply with regard to content that is newsworthy, artistic, educational, satirical, etc, as mentioned in the policy. Context is key."

So far, several subreddits have been booted from the site including r/Nazi, r/EuropeanNationalism, r/pol, r/NationalSocialism and r/far_right subreddits. The r/pol subreddit is an offshoot of the infamous 4Chan and 8Chan message boards of the same name.

"We understand there are sometimes reasons to post violent content (e.g., educational, newsworthy, artistic, satire, documentary, etc.) so if you're going to post something violent in nature that does not violate these terms, ensure you provide context to the viewer so the reason for posting is clear," the site said.

The move comes as a significant shift for Reddit, which has earlier shied away from removing any non-illegal content on its site and has drawn criticism over its delayed response to remove problematic material from its platform. Following the violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Reddit banned a number of communities from its site that had discussions that endorsed violence or promoted racist ideologies.

Many tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google have launched their own measures to crack down on hateful content and far-right hate groups in recent months.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman will be conducting an AMA on the site's main announcements board next week.