Reddit offers named Y Combinator CEO Jordan Seibel to its board associated with directors. In addition to running the reputed accelerator, Seibel also co-founded the particular live streaming company Justin.television before it transformed into Twitch. Mr. bieber.tv was an early recipient of Con Combinator seed money through the accelerator’s startup fund, as was Reddit. (Seibel also co-founded Socialcam plus sold it to Autodesk in 2012.)
Seibel is definitely replacing co-founder and board associate Alexis Ohanian, who stepped down from the company’s board of directors last week plus asked to be replaced by a dark candidate. Seibel was Y Combinator’s first black partner prior to becoming CEO, and he has supported numerous initiatives to increase diversity in the technology industry, including BlackTech4BlackLives and Black Tech Weekend.
“I want to thank Steve, Alexis, and the entire Reddit board for this opportunity. I’ve known Steve and Alexis since 2007 and have been a Reddit user ever since,” Seibel said within a statement. “Over this period of time I’ve watched Reddit become part of the core fabric of the internet and I’m excited to help provide advice and guidance as Reddit continues to grow and tackle the challenges of bringing community and belonging to a broader audience.”
Ohanian resigned from Reddit, where he was obviously a board member but not involved in daily operations, amid a broader discussion about the platform’s stance on racism and hate speech and methods to advance diversity and combat ethnic injustice in the tech industry. The particular conversation began following Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s post dealing with the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing protests against law enforcement brutality and racism, in which the leader said the Reddit community will “not tolerate hate, racism, and violence.”
The note started criticism from former CEO Ellen Pao, who characterized Huffman’s phrases as hypocritical. “So much of what is happening now lies at your feet,” Pao mentioned of Huffman’s failure to prohibit hate speech and moderate or even remove its more toxic residential areas. “You don’t get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long.”
I am obligated to call a person out: You should have shut down the_donald rather than amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is going on now lies at your feet. A person get in order to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long https://t.co/VN5XCiYp5g
— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) June 2, 2020
Numerous subreddits went dark earlier in the week to honor Floyd and to further demonstration Reddit’s handling of racism. Numerous moderators of prominent subreddits echoed Pao’s comments and called away Huffman for failing to take action towards hateful communities like the pro-Trump subreddit r/The_Donald and others. “Reddit has harbored racists as policy for years,” read an email posted by the moderators of r/NFL. (For a deeper look at Reddit’s controversial history of volunteer-based moderation, read the dedicated column about it in The Verge’s Interface here.)
Ohanian didn’t comment on their co-founder’s tenure upon departing through the board. But he did state it is “long overdue to do the right thing,” referencing his choice to step down. He continued to say he would use his long term gains on Reddit stock “to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate,” plus that he was donating $1 million to former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick’s education company, Know Your Rights Camp.
I’ve resigned as a part of the reddit board, I have advised them to fill my seat using a black candidate, + I will make use of future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the dark community, chiefly to curb ethnic hate, and I’m starting with the pledge of $1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. (@alexisohanian) June 5, 2020
Huffman recognized the criticism late last week within a separate note announcing Ohanian’s decision to step down. “Earlier this week, I wrote an email to our company addressing this crisis and a few ways Reddit will respond. When we shared it, many of the responses said something like, ‘How can a company that has faced racism from users on its own platform over the years credibly take such a position?’ Huffman said. “These questions, which I know are coming from a place of real pain and which I take to heart, are really a statement: There is an unacceptable gap between our beliefs as people and a company, and what you see in our content policy.”
Huffman mentioned at the time that in addition to honoring Ohanian’s wishes to be replaced by a dark candidate, the company would also revise its content policy to “include a vision for Reddit and its communities to aspire to, a statement on hate, the context for the rules, and a principle that Reddit isn’t to be used as a weapon.” Reddit plans to do so in the arriving months after gathering moderator suggestions.