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Reddit CEO apologizes after outrage over employee dismissal

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Reddit Chief Executive Ellen Pao on Monday issued an apology to users of the popular social news platform over the way the company handled the dismissal of a well-liked employee last week, a move that drew widespread outrage from users.

The site’s former Director of Talent, Victoria Taylor, was dismissed from the company on Thursday, prompting moderators to shut down in protest roughly 300 discussion sections, also known as subreddits.

Pao apologized for not communicating well enough with the site’s users on big changes like the dismissal, as well as for a history of broken promises made to the community.

“We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years,” Pao said in the posting on the website, adding that the privately owned company was working to improve tools used by moderators.

San Francisco-based Reddit launched in 2005 and has grown to become one of the most highly viewed sites on the Internet, drawing some 160 million unique users a month.

Among the more popular sections of the site was the “Ask Me Anything” subreddit, which Taylor managed. AMAs, as they are called, involve celebrities, politicians or other noteworthy people answering user-submitted questions real-time on the site.

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Community manager Kristine Fasnacht would step into that role as well as the new position of Moderator Advocate, to serve as a liaison between volunteer discussion section moderators and Reddit employees, Reddit spokeswoman Heather Wilson said.

Wilson declined to discuss why Taylor was dismissed, saying the company does not comment on individual employee matters. She said virtually all of the closed subreddits were back online as of Monday.

On Thursday Taylor tweeted: “Thank you to everyone for their good wishes and support. Love you guys.”

The New York Times reported that Pao has faced a series of challenges since taking over the company in 2014, including the recent introduction of an anti-harassment policy that some users criticized as stifling the site’s environment of free speech.

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An online petition calling for her resignation has so far received more than 190,000 signatures, the Times reported.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Israel PM’s wife Sara Netanyahu convicted of misusing public funds

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An Israeli court Sunday convicted the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of fraudulently using state funds for meals, under a plea bargain which saw her admit to lesser charges.

Sara Netanyahu was found guilty of exploiting the mistake of another person and ordered to pay a fine and compensation, in a deal approved by Jerusalem magistrates' court justice Avital Chen.

Netanyahu was also fined 10,000 shekels ($2,800) and ordered to reimburse the state a further 45,000 shekels, the latter of which she will pay in nine installments, at her request.

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What does the Trump administration want from Iran?

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It was the latest in a series of assaults on tankers transporting oil through the Gulf. In May, Saudi, Norwegian and Emirati oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, causing damage but no casualties. The attacks have gone unclaimed, so the perpetrator is unknown – at least publicly.

U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival, blamed the Iranian government and called the May attacks “naked aggression.” Saudi King Salman asked the international community to “use all means” to punish Iran.

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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