Former CEO of Reddit does not buy anything that the current CEO has stated regarding hate, racism, and violence

Reddit’s current CEO Steve Huffman came under the line of fire from the former CEO, Ellen Pao. The reason was Huffman's open letter that he posted on Monday, addressing his employees that the company does not tolerate hate, racism, and violence in any form and that these values are clear. This letter was a reaction to the US protests against police brutality.

Ellen Pao, who served as an Interim CEO in 2014 had a lot of things to say to him in response, and for a good reason.

So, basically what happened was that in 2016, during the presidential elections, a pro-Trump subreddit which goes by the name The_Donald rose to fame due to their controversial posts that included conspiracy theories and racist, hateful content. Pao had already suffered due to her fights with Reddit users and the website’s management to curb down abuse and harassment on the platform while she was the acting CEO.

Huffman, who is the co-founder of Reddit, became the CEO of the site when Pao resigned within a year. The reason for her resignation was perhaps her dissatisfaction and disappointment in her failure to stop abuse and harassment on the platform.

Now when Huffman came in the power, he did try to protect free speech while keeping an eye on the moderation of abusive content. He also shut down a few abusive subreddits at that time. He even took fights with The_Donald to great lengths by editing some user’s comments to make fun of them. But it took him few years to actually quarantine The_Donald in 2019 because of their posts that incited violence, hate, and abuse.

But they only got quarantined, not completely shut down.

A community gets quarantined when it receives significant reports about violations of Reddit’s rules and policies regarding violence and some other facets of the Content policy.

When a community gets quarantined, it is only visible to the users if they make an extra tap to open their content. Also, these communities are only available for users with a verified email address. There are some other restrictions to view these communities.

So, basically, Pao is blaming Huffman that he should have taken a solid step to completely shun the abusing, violence instigating community, The_Donald, instead of putting them in quarantine, and that too, after such a long time. Pao also believes that Huffman is responsible for amplifying hate, racism, and violence because according to her, Reddit nurtures and monetizes racism against blacks and white supremacy and hate all the time.

Pao’s anger makes sense because Huffman’s recent open letter itself is contradicting with his comments in 2018 when he first said that racism is ‘not against the rules’ of the platform. He later clarified his stance by saying that what he meant was that racism is ‘not welcome here.’

In either case, his prior comments do suggest that he himself was not too much against racist, hateful, and violent posts on the site, as he is trying to portray in his open letter now.

Other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook also keep updating their content policies to avoid harassing content on their platform. Reddit must clear their heads and improve their content policies in the favor of less hateful and abusive content too.


Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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