Reddit CEO: ‘Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech’

Reddit CEO: ‘Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech’

In yet another announcement addressed to the wider Reddit community, new CEO and cofounder Steve Huffman, also known as /u/spez, will host an AMA on Thursday to present an institutionalized Content Policy for users.

Huffman wrote:

Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.

Reddit’s current stance on content and free speech is tenuous at best. Former CEO Ellen Pao’s decision to ban five particularly heinous subreddits — including  r/fatpeoplehate, which targeted and harassed users on Reddit — was met with ire by Reddit users who are adamant that the site should protect all free speech.

Reddit remains host to groups that promote controversial and downright hateful ideals, with the most recent in the spotlight being the racist r/CoonTown subreddit, which erupted in celebration of the June shooting of nine black attendees of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

The longstanding philosophy of Reddit has been “Don’t like it, don’t click it.” But given the preamble issued today, Thursday’s AMA will likely serve as a way for Reddit corporate to propose to users a way of driving the more toxic cesspools out of the site.

“We as a community need to decide together what our values are,” Huffman wrote.

Cofounder Alexis Ohanian also jumped in to the thread, but to comment on possible monetization of r/IAmA:

We are still 100% committed to money not changing hands at any point in the procedure — we agree, it is necessary for r/IAmA to remain equal and egalitarian.

Monetization of r/IAmA was rumored to be the reason why communications and talent director Victoria Taylor was fired. That, if you recall, was the catalyst that has sent Reddit into a major blackout.

Time to prepare the popcorn.

Content Policy update. AMA Thursday, July 16th, 1pm pst. [Reddit]

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