Reddit CEO admits he edited Donald Trump supporters' comments on social news network after 'pizzagate' controversy
Steve Huffman, the boss of Reddit, changed comments from a Donald Trump-supporting community on his site, he has admitted.
Huffman, who co-founded the site and posts on it under the username spez, has said that he altered comments from Reddit's "The_Donald" community. That page has been one of the most prominent communities supporting Donald Trump online.
In particular, he changed comments that took issue with him. When users wrote "f**k u/spez", he changed the name to those of the managers of the subreddit – essentially meaning that any criticism was altered so that it looked like it was being directed towards the subreddit's own moderators.
"Hey Everyone," he wrote in response to a user who pointed out that admins appeared to be editing users posts.
"Yep. I messed with the “f**k u/spez” comments, replacing "spez" with r/the_donald mods for about an hour. It’s been a long week here trying to unwind the r/pizzagate stuff.
"As much as we try to maintain a good relationship with you all, it does get old getting called a pedophile constantly. As the CEO, I shouldn’t play such games, and it’s all fixed now. Our community team is pretty pissed at me, so I most assuredly won’t do this again."
In a separate reply, he said he had been altering the site in order that he could "troll the trolls".
Mr Huffman's mention of Pizzagate is a reference to claims by users on a subreddit called r/pizzagate investigating corruption, child trafficking and abuse.
The "Pizzagate" conspiracy alleged that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were involved in a child abuse ring operating out of a pizza restaurant in Washington DC. The theory that also suggests emails leaked by WikiLeaks contain many pizza-related words and that these are codewords.
The owner of the outlet denied the allegations and said the manager of the restaurant has been receiving death threats.
Reddit management then intervened to ban the pizzagate subreddit, leading to criticism from Donald Trump supporters. It was that criticism that Mr Huffman then looked to alter.
Many Reddit users were enraged by the altering, arguing that it proved that it has proved right the people who have claimed that the site's management has edited problematic comments in the past.
Many users of the banned r/pizzagate sub have now moved to reddit-clone Voat.