Today, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted that he altered some rude comments about him, coming from Donald Trump supporters. Reportedly, he changed only the mentions of him in these messages posted in the forum dedicated to the president-elect. According to him, he did not edit the entire message.
The #pizzagate scandal
Steve Huffman co-founded Reddit with Alexis Ohanian, back in 2005. He explained that he messed with the mentions of his Reddit name (which is “spez”) and replaced them with “r/the_donald”. This whole scandal began when a fake news story known as #pizzagate began to gain attention on social media. So much that even The New York Times wrote about it at one point. The fabricated story claims that a Washington based pizza restaurant is the headquarters of a child trafficking operation run by Hillary Clinton and her chairman, John Podesta.
Naturally, everyone on Reddit started talking about it and inventing more outrageous rumors. As a consequence, the Reddit team closed the forum dedicated to this fake news report. The team chose to delete the forum because users were posting personal information of people accused of being involved in this conspiracy theory which is completely unproven and fictional. The messages Huffman altered were the ones that were posted on the website following this action of the Reddit team. According to him, they were abusive and horrible.
Reddit’s credibility at risk?
But what does Huffman’s action mean for the website? It is admirable that he had the courage to publicly admit that he indeed tampered with those messages, but will this hurt the website’s credibility? Many users might now think that it does not matter what they will post anymore because in the end, anybody can intervene and alter their messages. And if they are convinced that this would be the case, it might seriously hurt the website.
Still, Huffman seems to have understood his mistakes and admitted that he surpassed his bounds.
“As the CEO, I shouldn’t play such games, and it’s all fixed now. Our community team is pretty pissed at me, so I most assuredly won’t do this again.”
The Pao situation- reloaded
Steve Huffman left Reddit briefly in 2010, to start a travel website called Hipmunk. Things did not go as planned and he returned in 2015 and replaced then CEO Ellen Pao. She left a cloud of smoke behind her when she departed from Reddit. Many users hated and harshly criticized (even insulted) her because of some of her actions. Those included closing numerous popular threads and firing hugely popular community manager Victoria Taylor. And we know how some people can be. Long story short, they started making sexist and racist comments towards her, until she got replaced with current CEO Steve Huffman.
However, he does not seem to be taking the best road to success, especially with his recent actions. It is a good thing he admitted to doing them, but if he does not stop he might transform into a second Pao. And we are sure nobody wants that. For the best interest of the company, we hope he will stop here, before it is too late.
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