Reddit has never been shy about using itself to politically motivate. In the past, the site has been part of many presidential campaigns to include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders. The site itself has become extremely popular in housing worldwide political conversations and has often been accused of censoring conservative voices in favor of bias towards liberal and progressive ones. Reddit denies those accusations.
However, Reddit has just unveiled a new policy on hate speech which some say proves they have a bias towards one side of the political debate. Their new policy which you can read in full here appears to allow hate speech from some people while restricting its use from others.
Here’s the relevant excerpt…
In concert with the implementation of this new rule, Reddit has now banned The_Donald, a subreddit with nearly 800,000 members which was dedicated to supporting President Trump.
REDDIT CHOOSES ALEX OHANIAN’S REPLACEMENT
In what may or may not come as a surprise, on June 5, 2020 Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from the company’s board effective immediately and is recommending that his replacement be taken by a black candidate. That candidate has now been chosen.
The Reddit board of directors has chosen Michael Seibel as the man to fill Alexis Ohanian’s seat. Seibel is the co-founder of Twitch and a partner at the startup advisory Y Combinator. In short, Seibel is already fantastically successful and more than qualified to fill Alexis’s role on Reddit.
In a statement Michael Seibel had this to say about his new job: “I’ve known Steve and Alexis since 2007 and have been a Reddit user ever since. Over this period of time I’ve watched Reddit become part of the core fabric of the internet and I’m excited to help provide advice and guidance as Reddit continues to grow and tackle the challenges of bringing community and belonging to a broader audience.”
Ohanian originally made his thoughts known as he posted a heartfelt video on his Instagram account.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Reddit and how it works, Reddit is a social network that collects content from various social network services and puts them into one unified presentation. This content is submitted by registered users and from there the content is rated and discussed. The content is also organized by subject into boards that users call subreddits. The more up-votes a submission receives, the higher up the submission goes and the one with the most up-votes will hit the site’s front page.
In concert with Ohanian’s announcement, Reddit posted the following statement regarding new guidelines they’ll be using going forward as a means of ensuring discussions and posts adhere to the rules of current accepted cultural norms…
Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit in 2005 with his then University of Virginia roommate Steve Huffman. The two got their idea for Reddit after listening to a lecture by programmer-entrepreneur Paul Graham during spring break in Boston. Graham invited the pair to his startup incubator Y Combinator after speaking with the two following his lecture. While their initial idea, Mobile Menu, failed with Graham, their second idea came during a brainstorming session and it turned out to be Reddit.
After seeing the company grow for four years, both Ohanian and Huffman left Reddit to find new ventures. It took five years but they both returned to Reddit in 2014 in major leadership roles with Alexis Ohanian becoming the company’s full-time executive chairman after the previous one, Yishan Wong, resigned.
OHANIAN AND WILLIAMS
Alexis Ohanian and tennis superstar Serena Williams were married in November of 2017 after their daughter was born in September of that year. This puts Ohanian’s decision to walk away from Reddit into perspective, as he did with his tweet, “I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: “What did you do?”
He continued on, seemingly to answer the question he felt his daughter would pose to him, “I’ve resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp.”
In a time when the racial divide is huge, what does this Ohanian move mean? Are these some of the answers we seek? What more needs to be done to try to bridge this gaping wound? The answers won’t come easy, but perhaps Ohanian’s big step is a way to start moving forward.