TIME viral

YouTube Stars Destroy Things You Hate in New Web Series SmashUp

“If you could destroy anything, just smash it to bits, what would it be?”

If your id had a Web series, SmashUp would be it. The YouTube show, created by Astronauts Wanted, will feature Vine and YouTube stars smashing things to smithereens. The items to be demolished will be crowdsourced via Twitter, where viewers can suggest their most detested objects with the hashtag #SmashUp.

Scotty Sire, The Gabbie Show, Vincent Cyr and Kaitlin Witcher — whose names will only mean something to you if you follow social media celebrities — will star in the series, channeling their inner vandals to destroy such divisive items as Crocs and a Furby. Presumably, the objects they destroy will be physical, although smashing up intangible concepts (intolerance, the wage gap) would be even more impressive.

It’s unlikely to hold viewers’ attention for very long, assuming the smashing of objects won’t be connected by any kind of narrative thread. But a vicarious bout of wreaking rageful havoc, without actually destroying any of your possessions, could be a nice way to unwind from a stressful day.

The destruction begins on Dec. 1.

TIME legal

The Supreme Court Is About to Make a Big Decision About Facebook Free Speech

Facebook Threats Supreme Court Case Elonis
Till Jacket—Getty Images/Photononstop RM

The case could have big implications for how we use social media

The Supreme Court on Monday will consider whether violent language posted on social media is covered by the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.

The case, Elonis v. United States, hinges around the question of whether a Facebook message can be considered a “true threat,” or a threat a reasonable person would determine to be real. That would be an important distinction, because “true threats” don’t get First Amendment coverage. But it won’t be an easy problem to solve: While it can be easy to call a threat “true” if it’s given verbally, making that call gets harder when threats are posted online, where they lack the context, tone and other indicators of intent present in verbal communication. It’s also arguably easier to make threats online, especially if it’s done anonymously.

What happened?

A lower court had sentenced Pennsylvania man Anthony Elonis to about four years in federal prison over several Facebook posts threatening his estranged wife. The posts included, among other things, raps about slitting his wife’s throat and about how her protection order against him wouldn’t be enough to stop a bullet.

A sample:

There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.

But how is that not a “true threat?”

Elonis contends his posts weren’t a threat to his wife but rather a therapeutic form of expression. It’s commonly accepted that violent images are often part of rap music and other media, and artistic expression is protected under the First Amendment, explaining Elonis’ legal strategy. Still, the issue of whether Elonis had the intent to threaten is not necessary for a threat to be deemed a “true threat.” That requires only for a reasonable person to believe a threat is authentic.

“The dividing line here is whether we’re judging the threat based on the intent of the speaker, or on the reaction of the people who read it and would’ve felt threatened. That’s really the key question,” said William McGeveran, a law professor at the University of Minnesota.

What if the court upholds Elonis’ conviction?

Several experts agree that such a decision could stifle freedom of speech online and offline, particularly among artists. If the court rules against Elonis, artists could be more hesitant to share anything that could be perceived as threatening — a slippery slope. On the other hand, such a ruling could increase the number of online harassment cases aggressively pursued by law enforcement. And there could also be a censorship effect on social media companies like Facebook.

“You have the potential for creating a chilling effect both on the part of speakers, but possibly even more on the part of entities that host potentially threatening speech,” said Paul Levy, an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group. “If intent [to threat] isn’t needed [to prosecute], then it seems that the Facebooks of the world have to worry that they, too, can be prosecuted. It could have a serious censoring effect.”

What if the court rules in Elonis’ favor?

Some experts agree this is probably what the Court will do. In the past, the Supreme Court has demonstrated a commitment to protecting all kinds of speech, however vile or unpopular, by citing the First Amendment to protect everything from a filmmaker’s “animal crush” abuse videos to the Westboro Baptist Church’s anti-gay public speech.

“The First Amendment is one of the strongest protections of free speech in the whole world, and it’s a very rare thing to have a law that actually makes it a crime to express certain ideas,” said Marcia Hoffman, an attorney and special counsel to digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

But if the Court chooses to overturn Elonis’ conviction, that move might not provide a clearer definition of which online threats constitute a “real threat.” That would leave us legally in the dark when it comes to abuse over the Internet.

“Society is still struggling to really figure out how the Internet works and how it affects people, both users of the Internet and subjects of the speech on the Internet,” said William Marcell, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “I think the court might want to buy a little bit more time to see if a threat over the Internet is really as serious as one face-to-face.”

TIME Ferguson

Watch How People Reacted to the Ferguson Decision on Twitter

3.5 million tweets about Ferguson decision were sent Monday night

Conversation about Ferguson, Missouri dominated social media Monday night. Above, you can see how Twitter erupted right after 8 p.m. Central, when St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made his lengthy announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Social media users continued to tweet about events in Ferguson well into the night, as protests, clashes with police and chaos raged on.

Twitter said there were more than 3.5 million tweets total about the Ferguson decision Monday night. “#FergusonDecision” remained the top trending topic in the United States Tuesday morning.

TIME Media

Don’t Blame Social Media for Ferguson’s Troubles

The Internet is just one more way that, on nights like Monday night, the whole world is watching.

Before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that there was no grand-jury indictment against officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, he read his own list of charges–against the Internet and the media.

“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation,” McCulloch said, “has been the 24 hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.” Some witnesses, McCulloch implied, were giving or changing their testimony to reflect what they’d heard or read in the news and social media rather than what they’d actually witnessed.

Obviously misinformation is a challenge for any criminal investigation, much less a racially charged one that becomes world news. That’s why you have a grand jury process–a lengthy and involved one in this case–to sift through the evidence.

And yes, social media can be where people go to repeat what they want to hear or are already inclined to believe, on all sides. Though McCulloch only cited cases of questionable testimony that were damaging to Wilson, we also earlier saw Wilson’s online defenders spread a report that Brown dealt him an “orbital-blowout eye socket fracture” in the confrontation, which photo evidence released from the grand jury proved false. “Social media,” like any media system, is really just a fancy description for a lot of people connected and communicating. It’s as good or bad as the people themselves are.

But we’re better off having social media, especially in situations like Ferguson’s. When the first round of protests broke out in August, it was through social media that reporters first got out the news of their arrests and tear-gassing by riot police, some of whom ordered the reporters–as well as protesters in the crowds–to “stop videotaping” with cameraphones. After the grand-jury announcement, voluminous records from the investigation went up online, for the hive mind of social media to begin poring over and analyzing.

Of course, one person’s “analyzing” is another person’s “second-guessing.” I suspect part of what’s behind the frustration of people like McCulloch is that social media makes everyone a critic. Thousands and thousands of people are watching over your shoulder to see if you slip up, checking what you missed, judging whether you were thorough enough, questioning your agenda. Good. Having everyone watch you do your job, or not do it, may be a pain, it may be stressful, but in an imperfect justice system, it’s not exactly a bad thing.

[It is also, by the way, not just those on the other side of the police line who can spread confusion in a situation like this. Monday night, a Twitter account for the Saint Louis County Police Department tweeted that police were using smoke, not tear gas, against protesters–even as we watched coughing, choking CNN reporters get hit with the gas on camera. Later the department tweeted that police were in fact using tear gas, though, the account said, they deployed smoke first.]

While McCulloch argued that social media made it harder to get to the truth in Ferguson, it was often social media that first got out the truth on the ground–and that raised questions that reporters on site were not always asking first. If prosecutors and police now have to deal with the public surveilling them on social media, so does that 24-hour news media that McCulloch described. (There was plenty of hostility toward TV on the ground in Ferguson too, with protesters yelling “Fuck CNN!” and “Fuck Fox!” on live air.)

The prying, judging eyes of social media may be a hassle for authorities–for lawyers, for law enforcement and for the media itself. But we’re all better off for it. Before social media, it was the last generation of electronic media that got blasted for showing people what authorities didn’t want them to see, like the attacks on protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which gave us a phrase–“The whole world is watching!”–that McCulloch himself echoed in his remarks. The citizens of Ferguson, he said, should be “mindful of the fact that the world is watching.”

As police and protesters again clashed brutally on Monday night, the whole world was still watching. And thanks to social media, the whole world is now also reading.

TIME apps

This Is the 1 Thing Facebook Can’t Figure Out

Facebook Creative Labs Apps
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

Can Facebook make a popular standalone app?

Facebook has a good track record of pulling off big things. One-sixth of the world’s population is on the social media platform, which, by the way, is also developing laser-based Internet to connect the rest of the humanity while its CEO finds time to pick up Mandarin Chinese.

But if there’s one project that’s stumped the company, it’s the very thing that made Facebook what it is today: Creating the Next Big Thing, particularly in the form of a new mobile app. Facebook has recently released several apps separate from its primary offering, hoping one will be a hit. Its most recent attempt, Groups, takes the social media platform’s group messaging feature and spins it off into a separate mobile app. Before Groups arrived on Tuesday, there was Rooms, an anonymous chatroom app, Slingshot, a Snapchat-style disappearing messages app, Paper, a Facebook app redesigned for mobile devices and a much-mocked “Facebook for celebrities.”

Rooms and Slingshot are standouts because they’re the company’s first attempts at designing a completely new app outside its core platform. And while Slingshot feels very much like a Snapchat clone, Rooms, with its focus on old-school online chatting’s anonymity, is curiously distant from Facebook’s real-life focus. That makes it special among other apps from Facebook Creative Labs, a Facebook initiative that seeks to create new platforms to “support the diverse ways people want to connect and share.”

While the Facebook Creative Labs’ mission statement doesn’t say anything about building mainstream ways to connect, making popular apps seems an implied goal of a company that wants to be as much of a daily presence as running water. However, most of Facebook’s standalone apps have seen their rankings nosedive since their debuts, according to data from business intelligence firm App Annie. (Groups is still too new to track.)

Facebook does have a proven, if unpopular, way to get people to download its standalone apps — it can force them to do so. Several months ago, Facebook removed the messaging feature from its primary mobile app, telling users to go download the separate Messenger app instead if they wanted to keep privately messaging their Facebook friends. Messenger quickly climbed to the top of the app rankings and mostly remained there, despite poor reviews from users upset over the split.

But Facebook, like other social media companies, has shown it has another option, too: Finding successful apps outside the company’s walls and snatching them up in big-money acquisitions. Facebook’s desire to capture top-notch, widely-embraced apps — and keep them out of rivals’ hands — helps explain why the company paid nearly $1 billion for photo-sharing app Instagram and a jaw-dropping $19 billion for the WhatsApp messaging app, with both deals involving a mixture of cash and Facebook stock.

Whether Facebook can ever come up with a new mobile app that people really love — or if it should even bother trying — is an open question. But that clearly hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to think up the “next Snapchat,” even if some of its attempts, like the now-extinct Poke and Camera, have totally flopped. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said himself, the failure of new products has been “humbling.” As a company on top of its own particular mountain, Facebook can afford to learn by trial and error. So until it adds one of its own creations to its portfolio of big-name apps, expect it to keep trying.

TIME Social Media

Facebook’s Newest App Lets You Chat in Small Groups

Facebook Groups Facebook

But don't worry — Groups will still be accessible from the main Facebook app

Facebook introduced on Tuesday a standalone app for Groups, an existing Facebook feature for sharing messages with small numbers of contacts.

The Groups app was built “with the people who use Groups the most in mind,” such as those who use it communicate with coworkers, fellow students or distant friends, according to Facebook’s press release.

The Groups app features a list of user’s Groups on a single screen, in addition to a notifications page providing updates on what’s going on throughout all of a user’s groups. There’s also a discovery feature to suggest groups of interest based on a user’s likes or friends.

Unlike Facebook Messenger, which Facebook moved entirely to a standalone app, the Groups function will still be available in the main Facebook app. All told, the Groups app appears similar to WhatsApp, a group messaging app that Facebook purchased in October in a deal worth about $19 billion.

The Groups app is a product of Facebook Creative Labs, a Facebook initiative to designs apps that facilitate new ways of communication. Facebook has also recently released standalone apps for chatting anonymously and for sending self-destructing messages.

Groups is now available for free download on iPhone and Android devices.

TIME Social Media

You Asked: Can I Delete All My Old, Embarrassing Tweets?

Social Media Site Twitter Debuts On The New York Stock Exchange
In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced it's initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

Twitter just made it easier than ever for anyone to find all your tweets

Twitter just made its search tool more powerful than ever. The social network has now made it easy to search any of the 500 billion public tweets that have been sent in Twitter’s eight-year history. Yes, that includes your tweets—even the drunk ones.

If you’re nervous about what an Internet sleuth might uncover if they searched for all your references to “weed” or a comprehensive listing of your embarrassing unanswered pleas directly to a celebrity, you might want to review your old tweets and delete the bad apples. And remember, if you ever become famous, someone will inevitably dig up all those racist tweets you sent in 2010.

Here’s how to head off your future PR nightmare at the pass:

Option 1: Request Your Twitter Archive

Before today, the best way to take stock of your Twitter past was to request your personal archive from the social network. Twitter will email you a zip file that includes all your tweets in an easily searchable database that mimics the Twitter.com interface. Just type in any questionable words you might have used in your younger days (“drunk,” “high,” “hella” ) and delete anything you wouldn’t want your Mom to read or embed on a public web page for the whole Internet to see.

To get the archive, go to your Settings and click “Request your archive.”

Option 2: Use Advanced Search

If you don’t want to wait around for Twitter to send you your archive, you can use the Advanced Search option (here) to quickly parse through your tweets. In the “From These Accounts” field, enter your username, and in the “Words” fields, enter whatever terms you’re trying to find that you previously tweeted.

Retweet the ones where you accurately predicted the future. Delete the incriminating ones.

Option 3: Scorch the Earth

You were a different person when you joined Twitter. If you were below the age of 20, it’s possible that you said so many cruel, vapid and ignorant things that there is simply no salvaging your younger digital self. You can wipe this person from Twitter’s record with a few clicks. Tweet Delete lets you automatically delete tweets more than a year old on an ongoing basis. Tweet Eraser allows you to delete everything you wrote before any given date. For more dire situations, you can download Tweeticide and erase your entire Twitter history.

Not sure whether you should delete or tweet? Consider this: Every public tweet is being archived for future generations to make judgments about our culture in the Library of Congress. Don’t make us look bad.

TIME Companies

You Can Now Search Every Tweet Ever

The Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device.
The Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device. Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

Archive of 500 billion tweets are now searchable

Time to start deleting your embarrassing old tweets—Twitter just made it easy to search every public tweet ever sent.

The social network announced Tuesday that it has completed indexing of every public tweet since 2006, which amounts to about half a trillion messages. A new, more powerful search function will let users search for specific words used by specific users, hashtags used between a set of given dates and other variables. In the past, these types of searches only yielded a portion of the tweets that fit the criteria.

“Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency,” Twitter wrote in a blog post that explains the indexing process for tweets in extreme detail. “But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.”

The more robust archive will eventually affect the basic searches that Twitter users conduct from the site’s homepage. While basic searches currently surface tweets from the last several hours or days as “Top” tweets, the company will soon begin showing older tweets that may also be relevant. Getting people conducting Twitter searches more regularly could boost the company’s revenue, as Twitter already sells ads against keyword searches.

TIME Social Media

5 Trends That Will Change How You Use Social Media in 2015

Facebook
Dado Ruvic—Reuters

Big changes are afoot for the likes of Twitter, Facebook and others

This year started with a death sentence for Facebook. In January, a research company called Global Web Index published a study showing that Facebook had lost nearly one-third of its U.S. teen users in the last year. Headlines pronounced the network “dead and buried.”

Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company earned $2.96 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter of 2013, up 64 percent from just a year ago. More impressively, the network has added more than 100 million monthly active users in the last year.

All of which goes to show how difficult it can be to predict the future of social media. With that caveat in mind, here’s a look into the crystal ball at five ways social media will (likely) evolve in 2015.

Your social network wants to be your wallet

Hacks released in October show a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web.

So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.

New networks proliferate, but will they last?

2014 saw the rise of a number of niche social networks, many built specifically in response to the perceived failings of the big boys: the lack of privacy, the collection of demographic and psychographic data, the increasingly pervasive advertising. Newcomers range from Ello, which launched in March with promises to never sell user data, to Yik Yak, which allows users to exchange fully anonymous posts with people who are physically nearby, and tsu, which has promised to share ad revenue with users based on the popularity of their posts.

Will these networks grow and stick around? New social platforms that try to replicate the Facebook experience while promising, for instance, fewer ads or more privacy, have the odds seriously stacked against them. The biggest challenge – one that even Google+ has struggled with – is attracting a sufficient userbase so the network doesn’t feel like a ghost town compared to Facebook’s thriving 1.3-billion-user global community.

On the other hand, new networks that map onto strong existing communities or interests (interest-based networks, as opposed to Facebook-style people-based networks) have a much better chance. In fact, thousands of these networks are already thriving below the radar, from dedicated sites for cooks and chefs like Foodie to sites for fitness junkies like Fitocracy.

Shopping finally comes to social media

Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long.

For starters, this approach eliminates one key dilemma all merchants face – how to get customers in the door (or to your website). On Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily chatting with friends, browsing the latest trends, sharing photos and videos, etc. Once their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or two away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.

In addition, since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.

Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.

Smart devices get more social

Cheap sensors have led to an explosion of smart devices. Everything from home appliances like thermostats, bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and smart watches are now collecting data and zapping it off wirelessly to the Internet. Lots of these devices are also pushing notifications to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a trend that will continue in 2015. The question is: Is that a good thing? The prospect of growing legions of washing machines, smoke alarms and Nike FuelBands spitting out Facebook posts isn’t exactly something to get excited about.

The challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence. This might start with tapping users’ social graph – their unique network of friends and followers – in better ways. A very simple example: a smart fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and how many people have RSVP’d and alerts you to make a beer run. By listening to social media in more sophisticated ways – tracking users’ activities and interactions with friends and followers, then responding accordingly – smart devices stand to get even smarter in the year ahead.

The illusion of social media privacy gives way to the real thing

2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks – Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few – surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware – and concerned – about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.

The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive – supposedly disappearing – user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.

But demand for anonymous social media will only get bigger in 2015. In fact, there are signs that even the major players are beginning to acknowledge the issue. In October, Facebook rolled out its new chat app Rooms, which allows users to create chat rooms around shared interests, with no requirement to reveal name or location. Meanwhile in November, Facebook became the first Silicon Valley tech giant to provide official support for Tor, the powerful, open-source anonymizing service – popular among journalists, political dissidents and law enforcement – that allows users to conceal their identity, location and browsing history.

Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite. Follow him @invoker

Read next: 9 Super Simple Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying

TIME Companies

Reddit Co-Founder: I Can Bring ‘Stabilizing Presence’ to Site

US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-INTERNET
Alexis Ohanian, investor and founder of Reddit, speaks about net neutrality for the Internet during a discussion hosted by the Free Press Action Fund on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 8, 2014. Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

Founder is back after CEO resigns amid rocky few months

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the online community message board Reddit, is heading back to the site full-time for the first time in four years, the company announced Thursday. Ohanian’s return comes as now-former CEO Yishan Wong is leaving the company after months of internal turbulence.

An adviser to the company wrote that Wong resigned last week after a disagreement with the board over the location and cost of new office space. Wong’s rocky tenure was marked by a controversial decision that Reddit employees must relocate to San Francisco or find work elsewhere, and after Wong publicly disputed the details of a former staffer’s termination process with that ex-worker on Reddit itself.

Ohanian will serve as Executive Director, while Ellen Pao, the company’s former strategic partnerships head, will step in as interim CEO during a search for a permanent replacement. Ohanian, who founded the site in 2005 alongside his former college roommate Steve Huffman, became a household name in the tech community in 2012 when he positioned himself as a leadership figure and spokesperson at the fore of a since-successful movement against a pair of congressional bills designed to curb online piracy. Many opponents deemed them too broad.

On Thursday, Ohanian told TIME he decided to return to Reddit full-time after getting pressure from the company’s board — of which he was a member — after Wong tendered his resignation.

“I had a bunch of my fellow board members asking me to get back involved,” Ohanian said. “And I had a long conversation with my girlfriend, I talked to my dad about it, and ultimately decided that this was the time to get re-engaged full-time with Reddit.”

For Ohanian, part of the draw of returning to Reddit, which he calls “this baby I’ve watched grow for the last ten years,” is getting its house in order after months of negative press. Aside from the personnel issues under Wong, Reddit received heavy criticism two months ago over its initial reluctance to police a sub-community dedicated to sharing nude photographs of celebrities — some of them minors — that were obtained by hackers targeting users of Apple’s iCloud cloud storage system. Reddit eventually took action against those communities following mounting pressure.

“While I do believe I’m going to bring, as a founder, a kind of stabilizing presence and vision for the company, I know I’m not the only one who has to get it right,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to help, and I think it will, but it’s going to take every one of us.”

“I was very, very cognizant of not being a helicopter parent during the years when I was a just an advisor to Reddit,” Ohanian said. “I didn’t want to be that founder who is still calling at two in the morning to suggest some product change. And I think I did a good job of that, of not being that,” he added. “But now Reddit is in a different situation — I’m in a different situation — and I want to do everything I can to help. And I’m in a place to do that now, surrounded by a bunch of people who care just as much as I do about helping this continue to thrive.”

With Pao serving as interim CEO, that leads one to wonder: Is Ohanian eyeing the top gig at a company that’s clearly such a big part of his life? It doesn’t sound like it: “Even as a founder,” Ohanian said, he has “at least enough self-awareness to know I may not be the best person for that job.”

“Ellen has done a tremendous job,” he acknowledged, “especially in this transition phase — not to mention in the last couple of years she’s been here — and the things that I excel at, the things that are my strengths, are things that compliment her strengths and what she excels at. And so we’re still going to do a CEO search, but it really is her job to lose. I want to see this company do amazing things, and I think Ellen is the person to get us on that path.”

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