Ellen Pao Steps Down From Reddit & Facebook's News Feed Is Back in Your Hands
This week in social media, the weeks-long maelstrom over former Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao led to her resignation. Meanwhile Facebook gave its users a little more power over their News Feeds, and Twitter's "Project Lightning" is probably going to be called "Moments" in its debut.
It's time for Social Media Sunday!
Ellen Pao Gone After Controversial Firings and Community Revolt
Reddit normally doesn't show up in Social Media Sunday, because the long-running "Front Page of the Internet" has been a pretty stable social media destination where major changes rarely take place and Twitter-level dirty controversy over the company's leadership never occurred.
Until the last few weeks, that is, when an uproar over Reddit's top-level management eventually led to its interim CEO's resignation this week.
That ex-interim CEO is Ellen Pao -- a former partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who is now famous for her lawsuit (and subsequent defeat) against the company over gender discrimination.
Pao took the position at Reddit a few months after that suit was over, and soon after, she began making changes that stirred controversy, like eliminating salary negotiation for Reddit employees.
But that's not what sparked the firestorm that eventually consumed the long-standing community. It was the firing of Victoria Taylor -- Reddit's (former) director of talent who was responsible for the site's runaway hit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions with celebrities and public figures -- which happened out of nowhere over Fourth of July weekend.
Following that controversial move, the volunteer community of Reddit moderators, who administer the site's many subreddits (message boards on every topic imaginable), began to protest Pao's presence by turning many popular subreddits private, which effectively took them off the wider web.
Over the last week, more stories of controversial firings by Pao began to spread, and despite apologizing and doing her best at damage control, by Friday, Pao and Reddit had decided to go their separate ways.
"After more than two years at Reddit, I have resigned today," wrote Pao announcing her resignation on Reddit, according to Wired. "In my eight months as Reddit's CEO, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly on Reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity."
The technical reason for her resignation, which was described as by "mutual agreement" with Reddit's board of directors, was because Pao believed she couldn't deliver on the site growth over the next six months that the board had targeted. No doubt, with the majority of the site's redditors firmly against her.
News Feed Gives Users A Little More Input
Another week, another tweak to the News Feed. But this one is different: On Thursday, Facebook announced new controls within News Feed Preferences, which allow users to prioritize posts from a select group of friends or Pages, along with simpler tools to unfollow, discover, and otherwise tweak your News Feed yourself.
It's kind of an incredible change, considering how much control over the user experience Facebook doesn't allow users. And though it seems these tweaks could be reversed at any time -- considering that Facebook changes how the News Feed works on a weekly basis -- perhaps this represents a new phase for Facebook and a way to stop having to adjust its algorithms. Just let the users adjust it on a personal basis instead.
Project Lighting To Probably Be Named 'Moments'
This week, The Telegraph interviewed Twitter-owned Periscope's co-founder, who let slip that Twitter's last chance for redemption, Project Lightning, will probably be named "Moments" when it debuts later this year.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that moniker has been given to Twitter's master plan to attract new users through organized live streams for events, but the final name is "undetermined at this time."
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