Reddit was founded on a lie, hundreds of lies actually. Reddit Co-founder Steve Huffman was speaking on a video for online educator Udacity when he revealed that he and co-founding partner Alexis Ohanian used fake accounts to populate the site with links users wanted to read.
According to Huffman:
“You would go to Reddit in the early days, the first couple of months and there’d be tons of… fake users.”
By creating fake accounts Huffman and Ohanian not only made their social network look less like a ghost town, they created the “direction” of the high-quality links they wanted to attract.
Huffman does admit that simply creating a few hundred fake accounts is not enough to make a community take off, according to Huffman:
“Social websites require a little bit of magic to work.”
In the meantime Reddit now attracts 35 million unique visitors and has well over 1 billion pageviews. While Reddit may have been built on a lie of sorts, the network now champions many causes that may have been missed in the past.
Do you think its ethical to start a social network that has been populated with hundreds of fake accounts for “demonstration” purposes?