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Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, a venture capitalist who has championed civic causes such as stronger parental leave policies, is resigning from the board of the company he helped create, he announced Friday on Twitter.

Why it matters: His resignation comes amid increased scrutiny against Reddit for the way it moderates the content on its platform, including former executives.

Details: In a video posted to Twitter, Ohanian said he resigned as a member of the Reddit board and has urged them to fill his seat with a black candidate.

  • He says he will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly, "to curb racial hate."
  • He also notes that he's pledging $1 million to Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp. Other tech executives, like Twitter's Jack Dorsey, have also made contributions to the same cause.

"I am saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks, 'What did you do?" said Ohanian, who is married to Serena Williams.

  • "Fifteen years ago I co-founded Reddit to help people find community and a sense of belonging."
  • "It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country."
  • "I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership to people in power right now."

The big picture: Like other Big Tech companies, backlash against Reddit has been mounting ever since Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

  • There have since been numerous calls by activists to push Reddit to take action against far-right and extremist groups on its platform.
  • Amid the current racial protests, those calls have amplified.

Earlier this week, former Reddit president Ellen Pao ripped the company's current CEO Steve Huffman for "amplifying" racism and hate.

  • She said Huffman should've removed the Reddit channel for Donald Trump supporters, called r/the_donald, instead of "amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet," she tweeted.
  • Huffman's letter said the company was exploring short and long-term solutions to curbing hate on the platform, but the letter did not say the company was taking any immediate action.

Between the lines: Reddit, like its Big Tech peers, is in a precarious position when it comes to how it balances free speech with hate. On Thursday, Republican lawmakers threatened in a letter to Reddit they will soon take action against the tech company for trying to censor the same channel that Pao denounced it for leaving up, "r/The_Donald."

The bottom line: While Reddit gets less attention for its position in the online free speech debate than some of its Big Tech rivals, the current political climate is putting more public pressure on the company to make changes.

Go deeper: Axios' Dan Primack spoke with Ohanian about Reddit's future last year

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - Technology

TikTok removes more than 380,000 videos in U.S. for violating hate speech policy

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

TikTok has removed thousands of accounts, videos and comments linked to hate speech this year, the company said Thursday.

Why it matters: As the platform grows bigger and faces more scrutiny, TikTok wants to be proactive in how it approaches sensitive issues, like hate speech, especially in the lead up to the 2020 election.

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: The prime ministers of the U.K. and Italy are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.