Former reddit CEO Prepares Users For the Great Purge

/ 1 year ago

Following new CEO Steve Huffman’s announcement that reddit is to implement a cull of the social news site’s “dark side”, a former Chief Executive has warned that it will be a systematic “purge”. Yishan Wong, who ran reddit between 2012 and 2014, has decided to “declassify a lot of things” now that he’s free of his “executive privilege,” giving us a glimpse behind reddit’s curtain in the process.

In a post on reddit, Wong wrote:

“The free speech policy was something I formalized because it seemed like the wiser course at the time. It’s worth stating that in that era, we were talking about whether it was ok for people to post creepy pictures of women taken legally in public. That’s s***ty, but it’s a far cry from the extremes of hate that some parts of the site host today. It seemed that allowing creepers to post (anonymized) pictures of women taken in public, in a relatively small subreddit that never showed up on the front page, was a small price to pay for making it clear that we were a place welcoming of all opinions and discourse.

Having made that decision – much of reddit’s current condition is on me. I didn’t anticipate what (some) redditors would decide to do with freedom. reddit has become a lot bigger – yes, a lot better – AND a lot worse. I have to take responsibility.”

Wong accepts his share of the blame for some of the seedier sides of reddit, noting his discovery of r/creepshots as a pivotal moment. He says that he decided not to censor the subreddit, which revolved around “creepy pictures of women,” since it was a “relatively small subreddit that never showed up on the front page.” Wong decided that allowing it to exist was “a small price to pay for making it clear that we were a place welcoming of all opinions and discourse.”

Wong also dispelled the myth that recently deposed CEO Ellen Pao was in favour of large-scale censorship. According to Wong, Pao “upholds free speech and tolerates the ugly side of humanity because it is so important,” and only sanctioned the banning of r/fatpeoplehate because it incited “off-site harassment, not discussing fat-shaming.”

Wong added:

“What all the white-power racist-sexist neckbeards don’t understand is that with her at the head of the company, the company would be immune to accusations of promoting sexism and racism: she is literally Silicon Valley’s #1 Feminist Hero, so any “SJWs” would have a hard time attacking the company for intentionally creating a bastion (heh) of sexist/racist content.”

The users of reddit have made their own bed, thinks Wong, and not before time. “We tried to let you govern yourselves and you failed, so now The Man is going to set some Rules,” he says. “Admittedly, I can’t say I’m terribly upset.”

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

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