Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, best known to users of the site as Spez, candidly admitted to editing the posts of users that are part of a pro-Donald Trump community called r/the_donald. The confession has sparked an ongoing, site-wide controversy, with many suggesting that Huffman should step down from his post and possibly face charges for his actions.
In his mea culpa, Huffman claimed that he was driven to modify user comments after a flood of r/the_donald posters expressed outrage that Reddit had banned r/PizzaGate, a community dedicated to investigating any and all of evidence of a rumored Washington D.C. pedophile ring. Huffman changed comments insulting him to read as if they were targeted at r/the_donald moderators instead.
To make matters worse for Huffman and his team of Reddit administrators, a moderator leaked an internal Slack conversation revealing a discussion about how the site can most effectively shut down the pro-Trump community. While other admins called for an outright ban for r/the_donald, Huffman promised he would “figure out” an alternative solution.
Some have claimed that Huffman singlehandedly violated Section 230 the Communications Decency Act, part of a 1996 law that protects providers of an “interactive computer service” from being held accountable for material that its users transmit.
Since Huffman willingly modified user comments, he allegedly broke that layer of protection, ostensibly making Reddit’s owners punishable for its users’ illegal actions.
For a humorous retelling of the feud between Reddit administrators and r/the_donald, check below: