Following the shutdown of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy subreddit by Reddit admins, users on /r/the_donald, essentially the premiere Donald Trump fan page, began noticing some of their comments discussing the Pizzagate incident were being changed.
Namely the ones that said “Fuck /u/spez/” and “/u/spez is a cuck.” Spez is Reddit’s CEO Steve Huffman’s username on the site. By Huffman’s own admission he shadow edited some comments to change /u/spez to names of the_donald’s moderators.
Hey Everyone,Yep. I messed with the “fuck u/spez” comments. 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.Fuck u/spez.
Users at the_donald were calling Huffman a pedophile because he shutdown a sub which claimed to be unraveling an elaborate conspiracy around an alleged Democratic National Committee child sex ring. Absolutely no evidence of this ring exists whatsoever.
Reddit’s mods maintain a close relationship with its user base and this shadow editing represents an enormous breach of trust. One can only imagine the enormous uproar if Mark Zuckerberg was caught editing disparaging comments about himself on Facebook.
Here is an example of the edit. The original comments were all referring to /u/spez.
Will Reddit recover from this ethical lapse? Maybe, but it will have a lot of explaining to do, and an absurd amount of Internet drama to overcome before this thing blows over.