Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted that he “screwed up” and wants Reddit to trust him again following his comment editing scandal, but he still considers members of communities such as the pro-Trump /r/The_Donald to be “bullies.”
In an interview with Recode Decode, Huffman stated that his editing of other users’ comments was initially done “in the spirit of fun,” considering it to be nothing more than a prank. “I figured, I’m just going to mess with these bullies, and I actually have the capability of messing with them, so I’ll do so,” said Huffman. “I wanted to do something. I didn’t do the right thing, but that was my mentality.”
Reddit users considered Huffman’s covert editing to be such a betrayal of unwritten trust between the CEO and site users that some even called for him to step down as CEO of the company. Huffman said that users questioning whether previous comments on the site had been edited was “devastating” to him and that he knows that he will have to work to rebuild trust within the Reddit community.
Despite his pledge to “rebuild trust,” Huffman referred to some Trump supporters on Reddit as a “toxic minority” but did state that he had no plans to remove the group entirely. “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 assholes.”
Huffman further seemed to imply Trump supporters across the country were attempting to normalise bigotry. “I think you’re seeing this play out in the country,” Huffman added. “A toxic minority of people who are trying to re-normalize bigotry and bad behavior are undermining this message that 50 percent of country feels disenfranchised, is left out. Separating those two is not easy.”
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart Tech covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org