One week after confessing to surreptitiously editing certain posts on the site that targeted him, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has formally apologized for his actions and promised to take a more aggressive stance against trolls and poorly behaving communities.
In a message posted under his spez username, Huffman said he was sorry for compromising users’ trust in Reddit and swears not repeat his actions. Some members of the r/the_donald community had targeted Huffman using his Reddit name, resulting in him changing the “spez” part of the posts with the names of moderators from the Trump-supporting subreddit.
It was through his editing privileges as an engineer that Huffman was able to change the comments. He said the company is updating its internal controls to prevent such a thing happening again in the future, though he never went into specifics.
Huffman’s post also addresses the problem of trolls on Reddit, particularly those within r/the_donald. “The United States is more divided than ever, and we see that tension within Reddit itself,” he wrote. “The community that was formed in support of President-elect Donald Trump organized and grew rapidly, but within it were users that devoted themselves to antagonizing the broader Reddit community.”
As part of its plan to tackle abuse on the platform, Reddit has identified hundreds of its “most toxic users” and will warn, suspend, or ban them. Huffman also threatened to take privileges from communities whose users continue to “cross the line” – probably another reference to r/the_donald - which could result in an outright ban if things don't improve.
The company has now stopped posts stickied on r/the_donald from appearing on the r/all page, which shows the most engaged threads from across all of Reddit. Huffman said the sticky feature is being used by members of the subreddit to circumvent organic voting and slingshot posts into r/all. Additionally, users can now filter r/all by excluding specific subreddits, which will stop their posts from appearing.
Not surprisingly, some members of r/the_donald and several other communities aren’t happy with Huffman’s actions. They say the filtering is a form of censorship, and are demanding that the CEO resign.