Reddit Vows To Come Down Hard On Abuse After CEO Is Targeted

Reddit has vowed to make reforms to crack down on its most abusive members after attacks on CEO Steve Huffman. The CEO announced on the social news site that the company has “identified hundreds” of the most abusive users and is taking action against them, ranging from timeouts to warnings to permanent bans.

Reddit vows to combat online abuse

Huffman was caught editing comments by users offending him on “r/The_Donald” subreddit. This community, which is dedicated to promoting Donald Trump, has been the center of intense controversy in recent months. The members of this community have aggressively gamed algorithms on the social news site to bring pro-Trump content to the top.

Sometimes these members have even engaged in abusive behavior against the members of other communities and the volunteer moderators on the site, notes BI. A moderator told Gizmodo that there has always been a “dark side” to the news site, but it used to be confined to the corners and was manageable.

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“What The_Donald has become, and what it’s doing to the site isn’t,” the person explained.

In an interview with Reuters, Huffman issued a warning to the Trump subreddit community that targeted him with abuse, saying, “Don’t force us to ban you.”

He promised during the interview that the social news site is taking proper actions against the users that had insulted him and others.

How it all started

It all started with Reddit banning “PizzaGate,” a community dedicated to a wild conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s inner circle is involved in a secretive pedophile ring. After the shutdown of PizzaGate, its members migrated to “r/The_Donald” and started a campaign of abuse, including sending obscene messages to Huffman.

The Reddit CEO edited messages sent by members that read “F—k u/spez” (spez is Huffman’s username on the news site). As a rule, the staff of the social news site does not edit or change the comments unless they contain illegal content. So the edit by Huffman provoked outrage immediately, says BI.

Historically, Reddit relied on community moderators to check subreddits, but now they will take a more active role in regulating the platform. The CEO even promised to increase staff on the site’s “trust and safety” team.

“Personal message harassment is the most cut and dry. Right now we are in an interesting position where my inbox is full of them, it’s easy to start with me,” said Huffman.