Ali Otuzoglu, Contributing Photographer

Reddit Chief Operating Officer Jen Wong ’96 gave a talk at the School of Management on Tuesday about managing one of the largest forums on the internet. 

The conference was moderated by the SOM’s Associate Dean Kyle Jensen and Associate Director of Entrepreneurship and lecturer in the practice of management Jen McFadden.

“I think what matters on Reddit is that the content is good, that you’re getting good advice. And most of that comes from the human experience,” Wong said. 

Wong started the conference by elaborating on the importance of content moderation on Reddit, mentioning that the up and downvote features on posts provide an organic way for users to filter out bad content. 

She said that Reddit’s content moderators are volunteers, unlike the paid moderators that competitors like Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok have. Wong added that the firm has over 50,000 voluntary moderators.

“Reddit is a very special community that I think is distinguished online,” Jensen told the News. “Jen is clearly a fantastic leader who is very thoughtful about her company and its role in the world.”

Wong said that Reddit encourages its users to become shareholders in the company. To improve the company’s focus on community, she added that Reddit sets aside around one percent of its equity for community projects.

Wong added that she sees anonymity as one of Reddit’s strengths. She said that Reddit’s anonymity allows users to be more vulnerable than they might be on other social media platforms.

On how artificial intelligence might impact the platform, she said that human connection cannot be successfully replicated by AI software.

However, she cautioned that certain companies train their AI tools using Reddit data, given that the website has no paywall. But, she said that privacy is one of the company’s core values, pointing out that Reddit users own the intellectual property rights to their content.

Wong said that one of the distinctive features of Reddit is that each post starts with zero upvotes and gains popularity solely based on its quality. She added that unlike Instagram, popularity on Reddit does not warrant a certain number of likes on posts or a guaranteed platform.

Wong’s speech then was followed by a question-and-answer period.

During the Q&A session, McFadden remarked that there was a lack of women asking Wong questions. Wong, an advocate for inclusivity in the technology space, was named number one in Fast Company’s 2022 Queer 50 list, which ranks the top LGBTQ+ leaders in business and technology. She was also included in Gold House’s A100 list, which honors influential Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. During the roughly 25-minute Q&A period, only one woman asked a question.

“There has to be a single female in this audience who’s going to ask a question,” joked McFadden after around 15 minutes of questions from male attendees.

Before joining Reddit in 2018, Wong was the global head of business operations at AOL, chief business officer at PopSugar Inc. and COO at Time Inc. She leads the Trans@Reddit community sponsor group at Reddit.

Reddit had its initial public offering on March 21.