Where is the line dividing free and offensive speech on the Internet? The question has caused serious upheaval for major media outlets in recent days. Two top Gawker editors just resigned over Gawker corporate management’s decision to take down a post outing an executive at a rival media company. Reddit is in upheaval over how to handle offensive speech. The turmoil has gone all the way to the top—CEO Ellen Pao was fired last week.
On The Daily Beast Podcast this week, executive editor Noah Shachtman, BeastStyle editor Tim Teeman and reporter Samantha Allen discuss Reddit’s ongoing struggle to police its uglier corners and CEO Steve Huffman’s attempts to clarify Reddit’s new content policy.
“It’s clear that if Huffman wants to tidy things up—make Reddit more palatable to a broader range of people or to advertisers—it’s going to be a fight with the Reddit community to make that happen,” Allen says.
According to Shachtman, Reddit has long been seen as the Internet’s Wild West, and people have taken advantage of the freedom to say anything on the site.
“People would leave these extreme racist sites to go to Reddit,” Shachtman says, “because on Reddit you could say crazier shit and you could post more graphic images.”
But, Shachtman says, “‘Anything goes’ is not a great business model.”
The Daily Beast podcast is excerpted from Daily Beast Radio on Sirius XM Insight 121, which airs Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. and noon. Sirius subscribers can listen to the entire show online. You can subscribe to the Daily Beast Podcast in the iTunes store. The theme music is by the Breuss Arrizabalaga Quintet.