Reddit CEO Says He Screwed Up By Editing Trump Supporter Comments, But Still Suppresses Their Posts

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Justin Caruso Contributor
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Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, claimed in a recent interview that he made a mistake by editing users’ comments and wants the trust of the community back.

In the interview with Kara Swisher of Recode Decode, Huffman said, “I figured, I’m just going to mess with these bullies, and I actually have the capability of messing with them, so I’ll do so.”

“A toxic minority of people who are trying to re-normalize bigotry and bad behavior are undermining this message that 50 percent of country feels disenfranchised, is left out. Separating those two is not easy,” he told Swisher.

Though Huffman admitted that he screwed up and wants Reddit users’ trust back, he still suppresses certain posts from /r/The_Donald.

The drama surrounding Huffman and the pro-Trump subreddit started weeks ago, when Huffman shut down a subreddit dedicated to investigating “pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that a Washington, D.C. pizza joint is secretly running a child sex trafficking ring.

After /r/pizzagate was shut down, some users of /r/The_Donald became incensed with Huffman, who goes by the username spez on Reddit, and began mass commenting “fuck u/spez.”

In reaction to this trolling, Huffman edited comments from the pro-Trump subreddit, admitting to the pro-Trump community that he edited their posts, in a comment posted on November 23rd.

“Yep. I messed with the ‘fuck u/spez’ comments, replacing ‘spez’ with r/the_donald mods for about an hour,” Huffman wrote.

Users were outraged, with one writing in part, “That is a horrendous ethics violation for a CEO. Fire yourself.”

Huffman later apologized in a post on November 30, but then announced his intent to suppress certain posts from the pro-Trump subreddit, writing,

“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.”

When a user asked him why the ban on sticked posts appearing in r/all was being specially applied to /r/the_Donald, and not to all other subreddits, Huffman replied, “Because most communities use it for good. For example, sports communities for game threads and TV communities for episodes.”

As of press time for this article, the ban on sticked posts from /r/The_Donald appearing among other posts on /r/all still applies.

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