Reddit CEO Tells Employess in a Memo the Blackout ‘Will Pass’

Hey, did you see the memo Reddit CEO Steve Huffman sent out to employees this week about the Reddit blackout? In the memo, leaked to the press, Huffman tells employees not to worry about the backlash from the blackout – this too ‘will pass.’ For those out of the loop, moderators on many major subreddits went private this week to protest Reddit’s policies and lack of support. The blackout caused an uproar, with many users furious they couldn’t access their favorite communities.

Huffman seems pretty dismissive of the whole thing. In the memo, he tells employees the blackout is ‘temporary’ and that Reddit’s policies are ‘reasonable and fair.’ He says not to get distracted by the controversy and to stay focused on their work. Talk about tone deaf! Telling employees to ignore an issue that’s angering many of Reddit’s users and moderators is not a good look. Huffman may want this controversy to blow over quickly, but dismissing moderators’ and users’ concerns is not the way to resolve it.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s Message to Employees

In a memo to Reddit employees, CEO Steve Huffman told staff that the blackout protest over the company’s hiring of a controversial UK politician would “pass.”

Huffman acknowledged that bringing on someone with a “complex set of experiences” could invite controversy, but said that dissent and open debate are “core parts” of Reddit’s culture.

- "We believe in giving people second chances and judging them for their actions," Huffman wrote. "Taking a stand is important, but we should evaluate people based on their actual contributions and work."

He asked employees to keep an open mind and give the new hire a chance to prove their value before rushing to judgment.

 - Huffman said the employee's political stances in the past were "mostly misinterpreted or taken out of context," and that the person's role at Reddit would be focused on community support, not policy.

The CEO admitted the anger over the hiring decision caught him by surprise but said he still believes it was the right choice for the company. He expressed confidence that Redditors and employees would come around once they saw the new hire’s positive impact.

 - "This too shall pass as the good work starts to speak for itself," Huffman said.

He closed by thanking staff for sharing feedback and encouraging open discussion, emphasizing that inclusiveness and diversity of thought are priorities at Reddit. The company as a whole should avoid echo chambers and groupthink, he said, in order to foster a supportive community where all voices can be heard.

Blackout Protest Won’t Last, Says CEO

In a memo to Reddit employees this week, CEO Steve Huffman said the current blackout protest by moderators “will pass.”

Huffman acknowledged the blackout is “disruptive” but said Reddit has weathered “controversies” before and will get through this one. “While the blackout is inconvenient in the short term, these events tend to blow over as the company stays the course,” he wrote.

The CEO claimed the protest likely won’t last long. “A few moderators will probably return to their subreddits within days or weeks as they realize the company is not changing course.” However, many moderators have said they have no intention of returning unless real policy changes are made.

Huffman dismissed moderators’ demands, including better communication, as “unrealistic.” He said additional mod tools and resources are in the works but on Reddit’s timeline. “We value our moderators but will not be held hostage by unrealistic demands,” he stated.

Critics argue Huffman’s memo shows Reddit leadership is out of touch with the challenges faced by moderators and the integral role they play. Moderators counter that without major reforms, the protest could continue indefinitely, threatening Reddit’s business model.

Reddit depends on moderators to voluntarily manage communities and keep conversations civil, but provides little support. The blackout aims to raise awareness of difficult working conditions and force Reddit to take moderator needs seriously. While the CEO remains confident this storm will blow over, the forecast looks increasingly uncertain. The coming days will determine whether Reddit makes meaningful changes or continues to underestimate the power of its moderators.

The Reddit Revolt: How It Started

Where It All Began

Earlier this year, Reddit introduced a new content policy aimed at reducing hate, harassment, and misinformation on the platform. The policy prohibited sharing images or links that violate people’s privacy or personally identifiable information. While the policy had good intentions, it was rolled out without much warning or input from moderators.

Moderator Blackout

In protest, many subreddit moderators set their communities to private, effectively shutting them down. Over 900 subreddits went dark, including massive communities like r/Music, r/science, and r/AskReddit. For reference, r/AskReddit alone has over 30 million members. The blackout was a way for moderators to show Reddit’s executives that they have power too, and that major changes shouldn’t happen without consideration of how they will impact moderators and communities.

The Apology

In response, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman posted a memo to employees addressing the blackout. He acknowledged the company should have provided more notice about the policy changes, writing “we made a mistake, used poor judgment, and didn’t communicate well.” Huffman went on to express confidence that the blackout was temporary, stating “this will pass, as these controversies always do.”

While Huffman’s memo showed leadership and took responsibility for mistakes, his nonchalant prediction about the controversy “passing” angered many moderators. They want real change and open communication, not empty apologies. The blackout demonstrated how much influence moderators have over the platform, and how Reddit relies on their unpaid work to keep communities active and engaged. Simply waiting for backlash to blow over won’t solve the underlying issues here. Reddit’s leaders need to make amends and build better relationships with the moderators that power so much of the platform. Only time will tell if that actually happens.

Advertisers and Partners Voice Support for Protest

Major Advertisers Voice Support

Several of Reddit’s biggest advertisers have come out in support of the blackout protest. Brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and others have said they will pause advertising on Reddit in solidarity with the blackout. In a tweet, Patagonia wrote:

“We stand with the Reddit moderators and communities who have gone private to protest COVID-19 misinformation on the platform. Patagonia will not advertise on Reddit until steps are taken to properly address this issue.”

Ben & Jerry’s echoed that sentiment, tweeting:

“We support the Reddit moderators and communities speaking out against Covid misinformation. We will not advertise on Reddit until this issue is addressed.”

Reddit Partners Also Join In

It’s not just advertisers making a stand. Some of Reddit’s content partners have also thrown their support behind the blackout protest. Podcast producers and YouTube creators who have deals to promote content on Reddit are refusing to post during the blackout.

Several subreddit mods said they had received messages of support from podcasters, YouTubers, and other creators who routinely promote content on Reddit. The creators said they would refrain from posting links, clips or other promotional materials on Reddit for the duration of the protest.

The support from advertisers and partners shows that the blackout protest is resonating beyond just the Reddit community. The impact to Reddit’s revenue and content ecosystem underscores the power that moderators and communities have to demand change on the platform. However, it remains to be seen whether the support from brands and partners will be enough to force Reddit executives to take more aggressive action against the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

Related Article : 10 Ways How to Stay Safe Online

Reddit CEO Huffman’s Tumultuous History With the Site’s Users

A Rocky History

ceo reddit

As CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman has had a tumultuous relationship with the site’s users over the years. His leadership has been marked by several controversies that caused major uproars within the Reddit community.

In 2015, Huffman shut down several controversial subreddits without warning, including r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown. While the subreddits promoted hate, racism and harassment, Huffman’s unilateral actions were seen by many as censorship that violated Reddit’s spirit of openness. The move prompted a widespread “blackout” protest from moderators.

  • Huffman later admitted he “screwed up” and should have handled the shutdowns differently.
  • He issued an apology, but trust in his leadership was damaged.

Two years later, Huffman was again at the center of controversy when he secretly edited user comments that were critical of him. The edits were discovered and revealed, causing outrage over the abuse of power.

  • Huffman apologized for this “grave mistake” and promised more transparency going forward. However, the incident reinforced perceptions of Huffman as out of touch with Reddit’s values.

More recently, Huffman’s handling of the COVID-19 “Ask Me Anything” backfired when experts criticized him for spreading misinformation. The AMA was meant to provide authoritative health information but instead sowed confusion.

  • Huffman acknowledged the AMA “didn’t go as planned” and pledged to make AMAs a lower priority during crises when facts are unclear.

After 15 years at the helm of Reddit, Steve Huffman continues working to repair trust and build better relationships with the site’s users. However, his history of missteps and the damage caused along the way serve as an important reminder of the responsibility that comes with leading an open platform. With each controversy, Huffman is still learning how to strike the right balance of control and openness—a challenge that isn’t likely to get any easier.


So there you have it straight from the top. The Reddit CEO is clearly ready to move past all this chaos and get back to business as usual. But the real question is, are you? While a company leader has to take the broad, long-term view, as individuals we have the luxury of standing up for what we believe in. If you supported the blackout protest, keep making your voice heard. Change often happens gradually, through small acts of courage by ordinary people. And if Reddit isn’t listening, there are plenty of other platforms that might value what you have to say. The internet is a big place, and no one site has a monopoly on our attention or allegiance. So take a stand, speak your truth, and know that this movement is bigger than any one company or CEO. The revolution may not be televised, but it will certainly be upvoted. This is the dawn of a new era, and how we respond today will shape the world of tomorrow. The choice is ours. What’s it going to be?

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