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New Reddit CEO Plans Crackdown on Hate and Harassment on Site

CEO Steve Huffman is tightening Reddit's content policies and has outlined the types of subreddits that could be banned
Image: TheFappening subreddit was banned after many of the nude celebrity photos were posted there.
TheFappening subreddit was banned after many of the nude celebrity photos were posted

After weeks of user criticism and divisive debate about the past and future of social news site Reddit, the company's co-founder and returning CEO conducted an "Ask Me Anything" session to clear the air and solicit input on how to control the site's plentiful hateful content and harassment.

"We believe there is value in letting all views exist, even if we find some of them abhorrent, as long as they don’t pollute people’s enjoyment of the site," Steve Huffman wrote in the post (under his Reddit username, "spez").

Huffman took the helm at Reddit after the site's interim CEO, Ellen Pao, was pressured to resign by users who felt she was infringing on their free speech and mismanaging the site.

Related: Fired Reddit Exec Victoria Taylor Tells Supporters: 'Your Voices Matter'

He listed things that would not be tolerated, among them spam, publishing private information on others, harassment of or inciting violence against any individual or group of people, and any sexually explicit content featuring minors.

Other content not suitable for everyone but by no means illegal, such as pornography and other "NSFW" (not safe for work) material, would be "separated" into an opt-in portion of the site that requires a login.

For examples, he cited a subreddit that actively encourages rape as one that would be banned outright. But sexism and racism, among other things, would be tolerated as long as they are limited to discussions. The latter will, however, be separated from regular subreddits much like NSFW ones.

Users quizzed and accused Huffman in a variety of ways, asking for better tools to manage large communities and seeking more details on the definitions of fuzzy words like "offensive" or "abuse."

"I'm specifically soliciting feedback on this language," he wrote in response to one question. "The goal is to make it as clear as possible."

Huffman gave no indication when the new rules may take effect, saying only that they're "considering" the new restrictions and would not apply them before they were carefully considered and tools existed to enforce them.