Steve Huffman, CEO, Reddit: The Evolution of Community

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In 2005, when Steve Huffman co-founded Reddit, the 21-year-old engineer envisioned a place on the Internet where people around the world could connect with one another through common interests and passions. A place where anyone could find community and belonging. A place that embodied and exemplified the potential of the Internet. Established as a decidedly “anti-establishment” company, Reddit was built as a meritocracy where content was regulated by its community with a simple up or down vote — not by Reddit itself. But over time, as Reddit grew, it eventually had to confront the worst of the Internet: speech that destroys community and makes people feel unsafe. Huffman joins the podcast to talk about how Reddit has evolved, navigating the proliferation of hate speech and the spread of misinformation while also staying true to its mission. Huffman also shares how his perspective as a leader has changed and why he believes that “as long as community is universal, everybody will have a home on Reddit.”

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • The thinking behind Reddit’s content policy and the reasoning behind decisions to ban Reddit communities like r/The_Donald
  • Why Huffman doesn’t want Reddit to grow too fast — and how the company is designed to grow authentically rather than artificially
  • How Reddit co-creates its experiences and products with Redditors through their direct feedback and influence
  • Why r/Wallstreetbets is an example of Reddit working well and why the retail investing community represents a global transition to people having more power than institutions
  • Whether Reddit would have been better served to be a non-profit like Wikipedia
  • Reddit’s plans to expand internationally and enable more people to find their sense of belonging