In a move that has sparked outrage from users, the CEO of Reddit has now pledged to suppress certain pro-Trump posts.
CEO of Reddit Steve Huffman, who goes by the username “spez” on Reddit, posted a thread titled “[Today I Fucked Up] by editing some comments and creating an unnecessary controversy.”
In the post, he blatantly announces his plan to suppress certain posts from the subreddit /r/The_Donald, Reddit’s hub of support for the President-elect.
“Posts stickied on r/the_donald will no longer appear in r/all. r/all is not our frontpage, but is a popular listing that our most engaged users frequent, including myself. The sticky feature was designed for moderators to make announcements or highlight specific posts. It was not meant to circumvent organic voting, which r/the_donald does to slingshot posts into r/all, often in a manner that is antagonistic to the rest of the community.”
Many users of the /r/the_Donald were infuriated, with one user calling his actions, “abhorrent,” and Lauren Southern, a commentator who did an AMA in the subreddit tweeting her disapproval.
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) November 30, 2016
The lengthy post was also Huffman’s apology for a previous controversy in which he anonymously edited comments that attacked him made by users of the pro-Trump subreddit.
Huffman, who goes by the username “/u/spez,” apparently used his privileges as an Admin of the website to edit comments that said “F**k /u/spez” and replace his name with moderators of the /r/The_Donald.
After several Reddit users noticed the changes in their comments, Huffman admitted to it, saying in part, “Yep. I messed with the “fuck u/spez” comments, replacing “spez” with r/the_donald mods for about an hour.”
In response, one Reddit user told Huffman, “That is a horrendous ethics violation for a CEO. Fire yourself.”
Another user responded, “You have admitted to editing user content on your own website. This is a breach of trust between Reddit, Inc and the user base. Why should any businesses now do business with reddit, when the integrity of content, data, and indeed the entire website is now in question after you edited content submitted by users and then attempted to hide it?”
Huffman apologized in today’s post, saying “I am sorry: I am sorry for compromising the trust you all have in Reddit, and I am sorry to those that I created work and stress for, particularly over the holidays.”
He also used the post to address the calls from other Reddit users to have the pro-Trump subreddit banned altogether.
“More than anything, I want Reddit to heal, and I want our country to heal, and although many of you have asked us to ban the r/the_donald outright, it is with this spirit of healing that I have resisted doing so.” Huffman says, continuing, “If there is anything about this election that we have learned, it is that there are communities that feel alienated and just want to be heard, and Reddit has always been a place where those voices can be heard.”
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