SAN FRANCISCO: Reddit has created a role leading policy and safety communications.
The executive will oversee a small staff and report to Anna Soellner, senior director of communications. It posted a job ad for the position last week, she said.
“I started leading comms for Reddit three years ago,” Soellner said. “From that period, we have been growing a team of comms pros across a number of verticals. I have been devoting a lot of time to the policy and safety space, and we needed to bring someone on board to really own those parts of the business.”
The new hire will work on what Soellner called “some of the most interesting and timely issues of the day,” such as internet governance and moderation and user privacy and safety.
The head of policy and safety communications will work on media requests, executive training and message development. The hire will also be aware of policy and social trends, identify coming issues and begin to respond to them and look for positive Reddit placement opportunities, according to the job listing.
Soellner, who leads communications at Reddit and reports to COO Jen Wong, said the new position will also help Reddit defend Section 230, a portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Internet platforms credit Section 230 for the growth of the industry, but critics say it allows them to ignore threatening and bullying behavior.
Section 230 promoted “good faith attempts to mitigate the unavoidable downsides of free expression," said Reddit CEO Steve Huffman in written testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee last fall, according to Reuters.
Reddit has traditionally been seen as a home for unbridled free expression. However, the fallout from racist and other offensive postings in infamous subreddits (the platform’s name for communities inside the site) forced the platform to change policies five years ago.
Some subreddits were quarantined -- visible only to community members who had opted in -- while others were banned outright.
Reddit said last year that its user base grew by 30% in 2019 to 430 million monthly active users by the end of October, according to TechCrunch. The platform’s revenue was set to hit $261.7 million by the end of next year, according to eMarketer.