Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao: ‘Deplatforming Works’

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

“Deplatforming works,” boasted former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, who became notorious among Reddit users for her pro-censorship policies during her brief tenure as head of the company, in a tweet posted this week.

Pao made the tweet in response to a study that showed the decline in attention for a group of right-wing commentators in the wake of their bans from YouTube.

“Deplatforming hate works,” said Pao. “It worked on reddit in 2015, and now it’s working on YouTube.”

Pao enjoyed a brief tenure as CEO of Reddit from November 2014 to July 2015, when she resigned following a wave of user backlash for her systematic dismantling of the popular social network’s former commitment to wide-ranging free speech.

The massive user rebellions against the shift in policy, which saw moderators of user-run communities stage blackouts and boycott, was dubbed the “Reddit Revolt,” while Pao’s determination to ban vast swathes of the site’s users and communities earned her the nickname “Chairman Pao” from Reddit users.

While Pao was ousted, Reddit would never return to the pro-free speech policies that prevailed prior to her tenure. In 2020, the site permanently banned The_Donald, one of the largest hubs of pro-Trump activity on the web.

Reddit’s lurch towards censorship was one of the first instances of a platform that had previously promised users a platform for free expression reneging on that promise. From 2016 onwards, responding to overwhelming pressure from Democrat politicians, progressive activists, and the legacy media, other platforms would follow suit.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, which once portrayed themselves as open platforms for a wide range of free expression, successively abandoned that ideal in favor of ever-tightening content moderation and “fact checking” policies, aimed at curbing “disinformation” and “hate speech” policies.

Pao developed a reputation as one of the most radically left-wing figures in Silicon Valley. She waged a high-profile gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. After that lawsuit ended in failure, she became a professional “diversity” consultant.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.


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