The CEO of Reddit commends Elon Musk’s efforts to reduce costs while the platform faces protests.

The CEO of Reddit commends Elon Musk's efforts to reduce costs

In an interview, Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, expressed admiration for Elon Musk’s cost-cutting efforts at Twitter and revealed that they have had a few conversations on running internet platforms. Huffman saw Musk’s actions at Twitter as a source of inspiration for Reddit. While acknowledging that Reddit may also take a dramatic route, Huffman believed there were ample opportunities to build a successful business. Musk’s aggressive cost-cutting measures at Twitter, including significant layoffs, surprised many in the industry. Huffman, aiming to make Reddit profitable after years of financial losses, viewed Musk’s approach as a valuable lesson, particularly in terms of job cuts and running a company with a substantial user base while maintaining profitability.

Although Musk eventually rehired some employees, Twitter’s workforce remained significantly smaller than before the acquisition, and other cost-cutting measures were implemented, such as not paying certain bills, leading to an eviction order. While Twitter’s profitability remains uncertain due to the departure of some advertisers, Huffman focused on the fact that there are viable businesses at Reddit’s scale, which was a significant realization for him as a business person. Reddit recently announced a more modest round of layoffs compared to Twitter.

Huffman did not disclose the frequency or location of his conversations with Musk. Both Twitter and Reddit are based in San Francisco and share Fidelity as an investor, with Reddit being majority-owned by Advance Publications. Huffman highlighted the stark revenue and profitability disparities between tech giants like Google and Facebook and smaller but well-known companies like Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. He emphasized that the differences in revenue and profitability between these two categories of companies are significant.

While Huffman found Musk’s cost-cutting strategy influential, he noted that there were distinct differences between Reddit and Twitter, particularly regarding moderation policies. Reddit allows ordinary users to upvote and downvote posts, giving them some power, while Twitter has its own moderation approach. One specific example is the handling of former President Donald Trump and his supporters, as Musk reinstated Trump’s Twitter account, whereas Reddit maintained its ban on the subreddit r/the_donald, a community for Trump’s supporters.

Huffman also criticized the organizers of the recent blackout on Reddit, expressing his desire to implement rules changes that would enable regular users to vote out long-standing moderators. This comment sparked concerns among some moderators who fear being forced out by Huffman, likening the moderators’ tenure to “landed gentry.”