Reddit quarantines its biggest headache

Reddit’s r/The_Donald subreddit has been a lingering issue for the site’s leadership.

The community, which was organized in the lead-in to Trump’s presidential run, has come to represent much of the site’s failures in uniformly enforcing content policies. Add in Russian election interference and a dollop of racism, sexism and xenophobia and you have the recipe for a long-simmering scandal that has finally coming to a head after the community hosted “threats against the police and public figures.”

Today, Reddit quietly quarantined the Donald Trump-focused subreddit, meaning that the content on the subreddit will stay self-contained at its URL for non-subscribers and will require an opt-in screen for visiting users.  Perhaps more notable, the quarantine removes the community from Reddit’s ad network, ensuring that the company isn’t making ad revenue from content on r/The_Donald.

In a lengthy, carefully-worded statement to TechCrunch regarding the action, a Reddit spokesperson said, “We are clear in our site-wide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed on Reddit. As we have shared, we are sensitive to what could be considered political speech, however, recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy. As a result, we have actioned individual users and quarantined the subreddit.”

The step is far from the ban that users have long requested from the company’s CEO Steve Huffman in his regular site-wide Q&As. Just last month, Huffman addressed some of the issues r/The_Donald had been causing:

“…Yes, we do see individual posts and comments that cross the line, but the offending content also gets removed as we ask and expect, and we also take action against those individual users and accounts with suspensions or full bans from the site as appropriate. I wish there was

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Gender & compensation at VC-backed startups – Where are we today?

Compensation is the most intimate way a company can interact with its employees. For far too long, compensation managers and committees have operated behind closed doors, keeping pay guidelines shrouded in mystery. Developers with equal experience, performing at the same level, and huddled around the same table while trying to perfect autonomous ocean to table omakase experiences could receive drastically different pay packages. Those times are over.

Unemployment sits at historic lows, investors are pouring in money through massive rounds, and companies are stepping on, over, and around each other to attract the best talent. Silicon Valley sits at the epicenter of competitive labor markets, but we’ve heard the same story over and over: Big Company X is coming to town, and we can’t pay like them.

Heads up Seattle, Austin, Boulder, Boston, New York, Chicago, and most recently, Virginia! Recruiters must be aggressive, and it’s only a matter of time before an all-star employee mentions a 25% pay bump available at Company X. A team member hears the news and they’re suddenly browsing job boards as well. The dreaded churn switch is pushed a notch higher.

Today’s workforce is more connected than ever, having grown with technology since the days of Tetris, Shufflepuck, and Oregon Trail. What was once taboo to share with anyone beyond your significant other, is now being posted freely for the masses.

We won’t even start on the impacts of social media! Reviews and ratings began popping up for schools, restaurants, and workplaces. Glassdoor, Salary, and others provide deep insights to pay, work-life balance, and … Read the rest

Daily Crunch: SF moves towards e-cig ban

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. San Francisco takes the final steps toward becoming the first U.S. city to ban vaping product sales

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes within the city.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who co-sponsored the ban, told Bloomberg that products will be allowed to be sold in the city again if they receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

2. Lifestyle goods resale marketplace StockX raises $110M, pushing valuation past $1B

StockX rode the sneaker culture boom of the past half-decade or so, as the startup first focused exclusively on acting as a resale source for shoes with high levels of hype. Its unique value prop was offering a verification service, so that you knew when you were buying the real deal.

3. FTC, Justice Dept. takes coordinated action against robocallers

In the so-called “Operation Call It Quits,” the Federal Trade Commission brought four cases — two filed on its behalf by the Justice Department — and three settlements against parties said to be responsible for making more than a billion illegal robocalls.

4. 300M-user meme site Imgur raises $20M from Coil to pay creators

Coil is a micropayment tool for creators, and Imgur says it will eventually launch a premium membership with exclusive features and content reserved for Coil subscribers.

5. ‘The Office’ is leaving Netflix in 2021 because NBC wants it back

By far the most popular show on Netflix in 2018, “The Office” was bound to leave the service eventually — or, at the very least, see some huge contract renegotiations. NBCUniversal, … Read the rest

SF Pride says it won’t exclude Google from the Pride parade

Despite Google employees petitioning San Francisco Pride to exclude the company from participating in the Pride parade this weekend, SF Pride says Google will be allowed to march in the parade.

Earlier today, about 100 Google employees urged SF Pride to ban the company from participating in this weekend’s Pride parade and drop the company as a sponsor. That came after activists expressed concerns regarding Google’s participation in Pride in light of YouTube’s response to homophobic and racist content on its platform. Earlier this month, YouTube said conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s racist and homophobic remarks did not violate its policies.

“We feel we have no choice but to urge you to reject Google’s failure to act in support of our community by revoking their sponsorship of Pride, and excluding Google from official representation in the Pride parade,” the employees wrote on Medium. “If another official platform, YouTube, allows abuse and hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons, then Pride must not provide the company a platform that paints it in a rainbow veneer of support for those very persons. On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, in a Pride celebration whose very slogan is “Generations of Resistance”, we ask you to join us in resisting LGBTQ+ oppression on the internet, and the subjugation of our right to equality in favor of calculated business concerns. The first Pride was a protest, and so now must this Pride be one.”

“We appreciate the engagement of community members who reached out to San Francisco Pride with their concerns about Google,” SF Pride said in a statement. “Google and YouTube can and must do more to elevate and protect the voices of LGBTQ+ creators on their platforms, and we’ve found that Google has been willing to listen to this criticism and is working … Read the rest

Report: SoftBank-backed Brandless gets a new CEO amid turmoil at the company

Brandless, a direct-to-consumer purveyor of food, beauty, and personal care products, says that every item it makes is non-genetically modified, kosher, fair-trade, gluten-free, often organic and, in the case of cleaning supplies, EPA “Safer Choice” certified. Beginning with its 2012 launch, items were also priced at $3 across the board.

That changed in January, when the company added baby and pet products to its stable of offerings, some of them at a $9 price point. But according to a new report in The Information, that’s far from the only change afoot at the company. Instead, the outlet paints a picture of a company that sold 40 percent of its business to SoftBank for a stunning $240 million before it had found its footing,  and where things have been sliding downhill since.

Indeed, while cofounder and longtime CEO Tina Sharkey suggested to Bloomberg that SoftBank loved Brandless’s uniform price points, its messaging to customers, and that Brandless was focused on a “highly curated collection” in contrast to Amazon’s everything-store ethos, Brandless has steadily been losing customers since the round closed  — a lot of them, according to The Information.

Specifically, it says that analysis provided to it by Second Measure, a company that analyzes anonymized debit and credit card purchases, found that Brandless had 26.5% fewer customers last month than it did in May 2018.

The Information says it has talked with numerous former employees who cite quality control issues as one of the company’s biggest challenges over time — from silicone serving spoons that detached from their handles, to glass containers that arrived broken on customer’s doorsteps and, in some cases, sliced their fingers.

They also recount inventory challenges, including buying too much perishable inventory and not buying enough of other, popular items. And they say that some … Read the rest