Reddit’s Steve Huffman Begs for Forgiveness – Is It Too Late?

Huffman CEO reddit

The continuing saga of the Reddit Meltdown moves into the next stage of CEO Steve Huffman coming clean in a mea-culpa that may prove to be too little too late. Sitting down with Re/code and reported on CNBC.

Huffman, showing how clearly out of touch he still is, laments that people are using “his” platform (emphasis ours).

“The irony is, they’re on my platform. I’ve defended their right to be on our platform many times,” he said. “I don’t want to take your voice away. I just want you to stop being a_______s.”

Yes, he is CEO and currently in charge of Reddit. But last I checked it was owned by Condé Nast Publications. Importantly, the only value web properties like Reddit have are their User base. Reddit is a User sustained community with all of their content coming from user submissions. The platform is the Users. Without them there’re nothing. He’s more a steward than an owner

You can read the original post and listen to the full podcast on Recode/Decode.

What would Aaron say?

rip aaron swarts graffitti piece

Reddit Meltdown Continues with Banning Toxic Users

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman

The insanity at Reddit continues this week with various sources reporting on the internal wars going on between management, moderators and users. It was last revealed the Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (u/spez) had changed user comments that were directed at him. The changes replaced Huffman as the target of ire to moderators of the subreddit r/The_Donald. He posted a mea-culpa yesterday but it has done nothing to douse the fire. If anything it’s reignited it.

One report on the Verge titled Reddit lost an adult CEO and installed a child, shows the internal arrogance of CEO Huffman as he derided ex CEO Ellen Pao in comments, only to realize she was still a reddit user and saw them, prompting a scathing reply: Reddit ex-CEO Ellen Pao

When a Reddit user called out an ArsTechnica piece comparing his behavior to Pao’s disciplined approach in the role, Huffman first responded by questioning her expertise:

It’s fair. Ellen wasn’t the first Reddit engineer, so she probably lacked the expertise to do it, and even if she did, she was smart enough to not.

Pao later saw the comment and responded directly to Huffman:

Yeah, there’s no comparison. I would have immediately fired anyone who did that.


This comes as reddit management tried to clamp down on the wildly successful and influential The_Donald. Their actions have many people concerned about free speech implications of online public forums and the cherry-picking involved in removing “unwanted” speech and expression. They swear that’s not the casr but no one really bnelieves that with Huffman’s mealy mouth reply. From Reuters:

“We don’t want to be censoring political beliefs, but then they do misbehave,” he said. “That’s why we have worked so closely with the r/The_Donald community. We tell them: don’t force us to ban you.”

The first wave of bans will likely be skewed to the r/The_Donald community because “that is a catalyst for a lot of this right now. That community is stirred up,” Huffman said.

Given the fact Steve Huffman has already admitted changing and faking user generated content. No one can trust the site won’t maliciously set-up subreddits/users/content/commentary it doesn’t like.

u/spez, didn’t intend…

uSpez mea culpa pt 1

u_spez mea culpa pt. 2

Jill Stein Recount Funded by Automated Bots

A Reddit user noticed Jill Stein’s recount fundraiser was gaining donations at a way to steady pace for humans. Not only that, she’s raising money faster than she could for her actual campaign. According to u/384981 the 4.5 million goal should be reached at 6:10 pm, and they were correct.

The info was posted as a picture (below) and is archived here.

Jill Stein recount funded by bots

Reddit Meltdown Over The_Donald Changes by CEO Huffman

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman

Reddit is stumbling through an existential crisis as it tries to smooth over changes to user comments on the subreddit /r/The_Donald by its CEO Steve Huffman a-k-a: u/spez.

The incident is making the rounds with a story on Breitbart and a mention on this morning’s Fox & Friends:

The CEO changed established, unsavory user comments that were directed at him. The change entailed replacing his name with that of The_Donald moderators. Mr. Huffman did openly admitted he made the changes in another comment, blowing the issue open.

Appalled at this behavior, another senior moderator at Reddit leaked internal Slack chat screenshots confirming the actions by u/spez. The moderator who leaked, UnimatrixZeroOne, soon had “leaker’s regret”. But then again he didn’t. After initially feeling bad, he reconsidered because of the severity of the incident. He released a statement this morning you can read in full here.

The changes were not logged and are untraceable. This poses serious issues as internet chat board records can be used as evidence in court. There is real concern this opens the possibility that much more nefarious changes could be made against someone with malicious intent. Some users have reported this opens CondeNaste/Addvance Publications (owners or Reddit) to legal liabilities as the action by the CEO negates Reddit’s “safe harbor” protections. reddit safe harbor protections

More on this story as it develops…