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On Thursday we'll find out if Reddit's leaders have any courage

On Thursday we'll find out if Reddit's leaders have any courage


Will the company ban hateful communities or keep making money off of them?

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Will Reddit ever change? We're going to find out on Thursday, when the company's new CEO Steve Huffman hosts an Ask Me Anything session to discuss his "current thinking" on the topic of deciding whether the site's hateful communities will be allowed to stay.

For years, through several administrations, Reddit has insisted that it is a platform dedicated to free speech. It's an ostensibly patriotic dogma that has been thoroughly criticized for being something else: an easy way for a corporate entity to monetize the free labor of others without having to negotiate any meaningful sort of politics or protections for the community the company sponsors.

Reddit's original founders are now in charge again, and they're dealing with one of the nastiest backlashes Reddit has ever faced. "Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen," Huffman wrote today. Of course, the site's hands-off policies to content have indirectly sanctioned communities that are by now infamous for the magnitude of their hatred. Finally, it seems, Reddit's leaders are at least willing to acknowledge this point. "There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don't have any obligation to support them," Huffman wrote. "And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all." But will Reddit actually take a stand this time? Or will they, as the company's previous leader insisted, continue to let "every man be responsible for their own soul?"

Reddit might have to change this time; the company is out of CEOs to throw under the bus.