When the uncontrolled, unedited, “We are the internet” culture of Reddit does something incredibly anti-social, we talk about it here. It’s nice to be able to offer props sometimes as well. In this case, the founder of Reddit is standing up where few tech companies have been willing to.
In an interview with CNN posted Monday, Soledad O’Brien asked Ohanian if he would buy Facebook shares. The entrepreneur and angel investor responded:
I’m not planning on it…I understand the business value to what Facebook is doing. We’ve never seen a company like this before–ever. And it knows things about our private lives that no one else does. And one of the big issues that a lot of us in the tech community have had of late has been their support for bills like CISPA that make it really easy for companies like Facebook to hand over private data about us without any due process. So that’s why I’ll be holding off.
Walking away from Facebook over CISPA cost me. Not only do I miss the easy contact with a lot of friends who are just not that into social media, but quite a number of people followed my blog from there. I’ve taken a hit in traffic. That means Facebook has also taken a hit in engaging content, but it’s really not something they’re going to notice. It’s a decision about me not participating in what they’re doing to undermine rights, not a bomb I’m lobbing in some sort of revolution.
Those like Alexis Ohanion (and Twitter) are much better poised to make an actual difference than I am. Competition is a meaningful source of pressure. So is telling people taking part in an IPO that there may be less market for their stock than they think. So is simply being an unusually decent human being when the cameras are on you.
For that, Ohanion, thank you.