The Internet's most popular online community, Reddit, is currently spiraling out of control. After the recent firing of Victoria Taylor, one of its most prominent employees who was responsible for favorable website features, many different subreddit (sections of the site) managers have disabled user access to popular content. These actions represent an online protest meant to drastically reduce website traffic. Some of the most viewed subreddits that have disabled public access include r/AMA ("Ask Me Anything"), r/TodayILearned, and r/pics.
Taylor was Reddit’s Director of Talent, and AMA organizer. The "Ask Me Anything" feature has proved incredibly popular throughout the site's many different subreddits. Subreddits relied on AMAs for website traffic, revenue generation, growth, and entertainment. Some of Reddit's most notable AMA guests include President Barack Obama and (previous) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Like many websites, Reddit generates revenues via advertising, which is entirely reliant on web traffic and viewer impressions. Thus, an online rebellion is detrimental to the company's business model. Many users of the site have also demanded that other members stop buying “Reddit Gold” subscriptions, a premium version of the website that compliments advertising revenues. Furthermore, Reddit users are encouraging others to install AdBlock Plus, a free application that blocks all web-based advertisements. As a result of these consumer actions, Reddit is poised for a massive downturn.
Over 190,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the resignation of Ellen Pao, the CEO of Reddit. Pao made headlines earlier this year after she (desperately) sued billion-dollar VC firm Kleiner Perkins for "gender-based discrimination." She subsequently lost the case, with the court ruling her "poor performance," not sex, was the reason for her dismissal; Ellen Pao is now responsible for paying roughly $2 million in legal fees.
A hero to many feminist groups, Pao is viewed as a tyrant by the Reddit community. Her recent actions include blocking one of the most popular subreddits, r/fatpeoplehate, which has caused a political uproar with users claiming Pao is in favor of censorship and the denial of free speech. Until Pao resigns, or rehires Taylor, Reddit is poised to lose a lot of money and users.