Stay ahead – join The Drum+

Investor warns Reddit’s failure to develop a mobile service has stymied growth

Reddit’s lead investor has warned that the present chaos engulfing the entertainment and news website is more deep rooted than the recent outrage surrounding the sacking of a popular employee but actually stems from a failure to develop a mobile service in recent years.

Board member Sam Altman, who has ploughed $50m into the business, told the Financial Times that he believes Reddit’s current user base of 170m could be at least double that if it had been more active in the mobile sector.

Thus far Reddit has thrived on a diet of anarchic agglomeration of news, entertainment and social media but recent drives to shut down some of the more colourful strands of discussion have provoked outrage by some who accuse the platform of censorship.

In an attempt to tame some of the wilder content Altman proposed handing moderators increased powers to intervene on controversial subreddits whilst also actively policing for ‘hurtful speech’ and removing it from main channels under a new ‘rating system’.

Altman said: “The internet is a big place. No one is forced to use Reddit. There are two legs to this beast, the product leg and the community leg. They reinforce each other.”

Reddit was thrown into turmoil last week following a revolt by users and volunteer moderators over the dismissal of a moderator – a move which ultimately led to the departure of chief executive Ellen Pao.

By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy