Reddit, self-coined “front page of the internet,” will look a little different going forward. On Tuesday, the social network began rolling out a new profile page design that takes a cue from Facebook and Twitter: Users can make posts directly to pages, and users who log in can follow profiles for new posts.
The changes haven’t gone live for the larger Reddit community just yet. In a public post explaining the new profile features, Reddit’s development team said they will be limited to “a very small number [of] high-profile users” to ensure they don’t “directly impact [users’] day-to-day activities,” Reddit said.
Once the revamped profiles get a thumbs-up from the initial crop of testers and profile pages roll out broadly, users will get the choice of switching to a “more prominent” avatar and adding a short biography about themselves. All logged-in users, meanwhile, will see new posts from users they choose to follow and will be able to comment — but not create new posts — on profile posts.
It’s part of a bid to make the website more “accessible” to new users, co-founder Alexis Ohanian told Reuters. “If you yourself are someone who wants to share something, it’s pretty daunting,” he said. “We’re in a position where we can start doing product improvements that are admittedly overdue but represent a real level up for Reddit.”
Reddit made headlines over the past several years, and often for the wrong reasons. Former CEO Ellen Pao, who oversaw the shutdown of subreddits accused of “hateful” behavior, was forced to resign after a petition calling for her removal received more than 200,000 signatures.
One particular community, r/The_Donald, featured conspiracy theories, fake news, and racist and misogynistic posts about President Donald Trump’s political opponents. Another, Pizzagate, inflamed a conspiracy theory that linked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a fictional pedophile ring at a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor.
Current chief executive Steve Huffman admitted in an interview with Reuters that the site’s policy against harassment had not been adequately enforced.
“We’re making this change because content creators tell use that they have a hard time finding the right place to post their content,” Reddit noted. “We also want to support them in being able to grow their own followers (similar to how communities can build subscribers). We’ve been working very closely with mods in a few communities to make sure the product will not negatively impact our existing communities.”
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