Reddit fires controversial employee after subreddits go black

Reddit has fired an employee after posts about her past sparked discontent on the platform. Reddit tried several ways to remove information about the new admin, after which dozens of major subreddits went black temporarily.

The controversy revolves around a new employee who joined Reddit in early March. The employee was soon linked to a controversial child abuse case. Her father was convicted of raping a child, but the employee later hired him as a manager for a political campaign. After that, users started spreading her name on Reddit. The platform took action, not because of its controversial past, but because of its own rules around harassment and sharing personal information. As part of those measures, articles, posts or comments mentioning the employee’s name were removed and posters were banned in some cases. It is not clear whether this was automated or whether employees handed out bans manually. Reddit has come under fire in the past when it was revealed that the CEO had edited posts critical of him.

In protest against the bans and for hiring the employee, dozens of major subreddits went black. They were made private, making it impossible to read them without subscribing to them. In some cases, no new posts could be created either. These are small, but also large subreddits with sometimes millions of subscribers, including standard subreddits that appear on the front page. The subreddits are now available again.

Reddit is now writing that it has fired the employee. “We haven’t checked her background enough,” the company wrote. Interestingly, Reddit says it had been aware of harassment against her since March 9, and then tightened its rules.

Update: initially this piece stated that the employee was ‘associated with child abuse’. It is now more clearly written what the case was.