Reddit's new CEO is willing to sacrifice revenue for freedom of speech

In the wake of never-ending controversy, new Reddit CEO Steve Huffman proposed a new set of rules that clearly lay out what you can and can’t say on the platform — and hopefully demonstrate that the site puts free speech above all else.

Under this new policy, which Huffman has put up to the Reddit community for discussion, would completely ban the posting of personal information, child pornography, any kind of illegal activity, and online harassment, and spam.

“The reason we’re careful to restrict speech is because people have more open and authentic discussions when they aren’t worried about the speech police knocking down their door,” Huffman writes.

Notably, though, the proposed content policy included provisions for “adult content,” including pornography and “content that violates a common sense of decency,” that you’ll have to log in to see.

Even once you’re logged in, you’ll have to specifically opt in to see it. It’s an extension of Reddit’s existing “NSFW” feature, which requires a user to certify that they’re over 18.

The really interesting part, though, is that Reddit won’t run any advertising on pages that host so-called “NSFW” content, as Huffman confirmed to the New York Times, meaning that it’s willing to sacrifice some revenue in favour of making sure the Reddit community has more latitude in what they can post.

“We believe there is value in letting all views exist, even if we find some of them abhorrent, as long as they don’t pollute people’s enjoyment of the site,” Huffman writes.

It’s an interesting compromise in the wake of the discussions how harassment and toxic communities hurt Reddit’s ability to monetise.

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