You’d think that social media CEOs would have learned to avoid sounding like Bond villains by now, but it seems that Reddit’s Steve Huffman hasn’t got the memo.
“We know all of your interests. Not only just your interests you are willing to declare publicly on Facebook. We know your dark secrets. We know everything.”
That’s an actual quote from Huffman at last weekend’s The Next Web conference. He said it with a grin – as, presumably, did Mark Zuckerberg when he called his users “dumb f**cks” for trusting him with their data.
The problem with grins, of course, is that they don’t really translate into print very well.
And even if he was grinning, he wasn’t lying. Reddit, unlike Facebook, is both topic-oriented and pseudonymous. In other words, users are encouraged to seek out niche interests — even taboo ones — under the comfy illusion that society isn’t watching. Users aren’t even required to go through email verification, adding to the sense that nobody is tracking them.
Huffman just told those users: fat chance. We are tracking you, we know you browse /r/dickgirls and /r/yiff, and we’re going to sell that data to advertisers.
(Note – those are actual Reddit communities, but I would advise against googling them. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.)
Huffman’s comments came as Reddit announced a new system of native affiliate links, in which Reddit will take a percentage of any purchases made via links to merchant sites posted by Reddit users. The new system will automatically rewrite user-posted links to approximately 1500 online merchants so that they will be routed through VigLink, a partner of Reddit.
Reddit users, famously (and often justifiably) mistrustful of the site management, reacted predictably to Huffman’s comments:
Its always good to sound like a super villain when talking to the public, right?
Reddit confirmed run by the children from the horror movie on that episode of the Simpsons.
So first of all, that kinda creeped me out. And second, if that’s really true, my tastes will trigger sjws and nuns alike.
Others were less troubled:
What’s the worst they could know? That I totally ship Rytlock Brimstone and Logan Thackeray and think that trap cat”girl” maids are best waifu?
I hope my cookies and incognito info aren’t available to them. They don’t want to see what I do in my spare time.
Cool, so why don’t you sell me that apolitical good moderation I’m always bitching about ya f***in c***