Moderators on Reddit have penned an exhaustive open letter to Reddit’s chief executive officer Steve Huffman.
The letter follows a statement made by Huffman last week in which he states his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. While the statement comes from a good place, Huffman has been called a hypocrite given the state of the platform he oversees.
As you may be aware, racism and hate speech is rife on Reddit and while the platform has said in the past it will address the aforementioned issues, the moderators who have signed the letter said that the time for empty words is over.
“On June 5, you shared this update on /r/Announcements, Upcoming changes to our content policy, our board, and where we’re going from here. In the post, you stated that there is a need for continued adjustments of Reddit’s content policy to address racism and that this remains a priority. These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough. It has been five years since your return as CEO and this still remains Reddit’s most glaring problem,” wrote the moderators.
That statement mentioned above can be found here.
So what should Huffman and the rest of Reddit’s management do?
The moderators have called on Reddit to make the following changes:
- Enact a sitewide policy against racism, slurs, and hatespeech targeted at protected groups.
- Be proactive in banning hate-based communities
- Be proactive in banning hate users
- Reddit needs to hire more minorities / women, especially in leadership roles
- Reddit needs to hire more community managers
- Honor Alexis Ohanian’s wishes to have his Reddit Board seat filled with a black candidate
“With a website with the impact of Reddit on the broader conversations being held in communities around the world, this website needs real leadership and real action,” the moderators added.
Whether Reddit will respond to these suggestions remains to be seen but it’s clear that Huffman and co are facing increased pressure to something about the hate that has festered on Reddit for years.
It’s also clear that social media is under the magnifying glass these days what with Twitter courting the anger of the US President and Facebook angering many of its users. Now Reddit is on the wrong side of its users and we’re here wondering whether social media in 2021 will look very different.