The CEO of Reddit came under fire after he admitted last week that he secretly edited user comments on popular pro-Trump account ,The_Donald .
Huffman owned up to altering messages on The_Donald that mocked him directly. He switched all mentions of his name with the usernames of the board’s moderators — so that the oft-profanity-laced rants about him appeared to be about his haters.
It was not a good idea, he told The Washington Post Friday by phone. “I abused my power to give the bullies a hard time,” he said. Huffman thought of his name-swapping as a joke: a way to poke back at the people who’ve been harassing him and some of the site's volunteer moderators for months.
He said he “would have banned” the entire page if its users had been targeting any other Reddit employee. Instead, he decided to give them a taste of their own medicine — claiming he only intended to change the comments for a few hours.
“I had my fun with them, they had their fun with me,” Huffman told The Post.He also hasn’t acknowledged the calls from some The_Donald fans for him to step down.
The_Donald is among the most popular pro-Trump pages on Reddit, with more than 300,000 subscribers, who called themselves “Centipedes.”
Reddit previously tried to quash the page’s reach by changing its algorithm over the summer to prevent popular The_Donald posts from rising to the site's front pages.
Huffman said that he knows what he did may set a bad precedent that could hurt users' trust in the site. But he also said that, having seen this torrent of abuse first hand, he will have Reddit step up its efforts to let users filter out negative content, and to take on the general problem of harassment.