Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman had something of a TIL moment[TIL: Today I Learned] after he tried to curb abusive behavior in the site’s top subreddit for Donald Trump supporters.
In an interview with Reuters, Huffman discussed how he discovered that Reddit’s anti-harassment policies were not being adequately enforced after he tried to moderate the r/The_Donald subreddit, which is known for promoting Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories and racist and misogynistic content.
“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry,” he said. “Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me.”
Starting, apparently, with Huffman’s inbox, Reddit is in the process of ramping up its anti-harassment enforcement, adding more employees to the site’s “trust and safety team” and tasking a team of “anti-evil” engineers to head the overall process. So far, the site has identified a list hundreds usernames’ long of Reddit’s worst users and plans to admonish, ban, or suspend them, Reuters reported.
I’m not sanguine about the attempts to clean up Reddit, it’s long been a mess, and a lot of people thought it would finally get cleaned up after former interim CEO Ellen Pao attempted to deal with the constant harassment on Reddit, and was drowned in it. That incident wasn’t enough, apparently, for Huffman to get the message about just how big of a problem Reddit is, and how he’s allowed it all to happen.
“The fact I was saying that combating harassment was important and then letting that openly happen to me, the CEO, there’s a disconnect there,” he said. Huffman apologized in a statement, saying he “will never risk your trust like this again.”
Huffman clearly sees that harassment is an issue, but it took a deluge of insults to recognize the problem is more complex than simply clear-cut personal attacks.
Nice words, but will any of it matter? I suppose we’ll see. Full story at Think Progress.