Reddit CEO Alters User Submitted Content En Masse

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Washington, D.C. – November 23, 2016 – Reddit, Inc. CEO Steven Ladd Huffman has admitted to editing user submitted content en masse. User content edited by Huffman was not in violation of Reddit’s terms or rules. Users were not notified that their submissions were being edited. This is the first documented incident of a high traffic social media website actively editing its users’ submitted content. The event raises questions of whether content from other sub-reddits were quietly edited for either personal interest or to control a “fake news” narrative.

The incident began when moderators of r/the_donald identified an abnormality in user spez1posts shortly before 7:00 p.m. EST. The moderation team found that numerous posts within one thread had been edited en masse. The revisions removed all mention of Huffman’s username (u/spez) within the thread. The sweeping revision appeared to be executed by a script through systems accessible only by certain Reddit, Inc. employees. This led the moderation team to suspect that Reddit, Inc. staff members were directly involved.

A thread containing the team’s evidence was published in hopes that Reddit, Inc. staff would explain this unprecedented action. Huffman later posted confirmation that he had edited the user content for personal reasons and that the revisions had been undone. Huffman’s actions raise a number of business integrity concerns despite his attempted reconciliation. The immediate concern users have echoed throughout the social media website is whether this has occurred in other sub-reddits. Such activity, if it has occurred elsewhere on the website, risks being interpreted by users as censorship of their content by Reddit, Inc. staff.  Other users question why Huffman was so quick to act on his username mentions instead of acting against the presence of extremely controversial sub-reddits such as r/pedofriends. Another, and possibly more frightening concern that was voiced, is whether “fake news” from Reddit users were once factual before being edited by Reddit staff and subsequently targeted by the media. Inquirio will provide updates as the story develops.

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