The CEO of Reddit confessed to modifying posts from Trump supporters after they wouldn't stop sending him expletives
The story begins earlier this week, when The New York Times published a report on Comet Ping Pong , a Washington DC pizza place that a false news item on social media had pegged as the center of a child-abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee chair John Podesta, despite a lack of any evidence.
Following that report, Reddit took steps to shut down the "r/ Pizzagate " subreddit community, which had the stated goal of proving the existence of a conspiracy centering on Comet Ping Pong. " We don't want witchhunts on our site ," says the warning that replaced the Pizzagate page on Reddit.
The move to shut down r/Pizzagate proved controversial to users of "r/The_Donald," Reddit's most popular community for supporters of Donald Trump. Those users repeatedly left comments to the effect of "f**k u/spez" and other forms of abuse, including Huffman's "u/spez" Reddit name in the post to make sure he was notified of each new message.
On Wednesday afternoon, members of "The_Donald" noticed that their posts had changed without their knowledge or consent : Instead of referencing Huffman himself, the posts now hurled the same expletives at the moderators of the "The_Donald" community.
Angry "The _Donald" members accused Reddit leadership of modifying or otherwise censoring their posts - which turned out to be correct, when Huffman posted the following comment, confessing that it was him personally who was performing the changes:
"As the CEO, I shouldn't play such games, and it's all fixed now. Our community team is pretty pissed at me, so I most assuredly won't do this again," Huffman wrote.
Now, users of "The_Donald" are accusing Huffman of having destroyed Reddit's credibility - given that the site has previously shut down controversial subreddit communities over illegal content posted there, they're now accusing Huffman of laying the groundwork for a crackdown on "The_Donald," with whom Reddit leadership has long had a contentious relationship.
Huffman took the role as Reddit CEO in mid-2015, following the departure of interim CEO Ellen Pao. Pao left Reddit in the wake of the " Reddit Revolt ," which saw members of the site stage protests after the controversial firing of a well-liked employee.
Reddit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.