We’ve all suspected that the management hierarchy at social media companies were in the bag for anyone but Donald Trump. Now, we have proof.
According to Business Insider, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has confessed to modifying the posts of Donald Trump supporters in order to impugn them.
The story is a convoluted one and begins with a topic known as “Pizzagate.” According to The New York Times, a viral story begun on the dubiously accurate social media website 4chan. It claimed that a Washington, D.C., pizzeria named Comet Ping Pong was the epicenter of a child-trafficking ring run by Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chair, John Podesta.
The story was a fake, but many social media users utilized a newly created “r/pizzagate” subreddit — a name used to describe a specific forum on the site — to talk about the rumors or their displeasure with Hillary Clinton and her unsuccessful campaign. The subreddit was quickly shut down, with a message that read ““We don’t want witchhunts (sic) on our site,”
However, discussions moved onto another subreddit, “r/The_Donald,” a fan-run forum for the president-elect. It’s here where the intricacies of Reddit come into play; Huffman, the CEO, has a Reddit handle of “u/spez.”
Many who were upset with the censorship left messages that said something like, “f*** u/spez,” or something to that effect — which would have alerted the CEO, since “u/spez” was his Reddit username.
That apparently angered Huffman enough to change instances of “u/spez” to the names of the operators of “r/The_Donald,” thus shifting the notifications from him to them and making it look like the comments were directed at against operators of the Trump subreddit.
The ruse was quickly discovered and Huffman was forced to apologize, saying it was his way of “unwinding” — or, well, something.
“It’s been a long week here trying to unwind the r/pizzagate stuff,” Huffman said in a post, according to the BBC.
“As much as we try to maintain a good relationship with you all, it does get old getting called a paedophile constantly,” he added. “As the CEO, I shouldn’t play such games, and it’s all fixed now.”
I understand that social media users venting their anger using a highly dubious news story as a structure to hang their frustration upon might be a pain. However, it’s worth pointing out that the subreddit “r/recount2016” — a subreddit dedicated to the preposterous conspiracy theory that the 2016 election was stolen from Hillary Clinton by some nefarious force (hint: the prime suspect is home to a panoply of bears and vodka) hasn’t been, at last check, fronted with by the aforementioned Mr. Huffman.
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