Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has decided to step down, citing a desire to pursue a new career and take a more active role in helping to tackle the rise of Donald Trump’s administration.
In a letter to employees posted on Reddit’s website on Wednesday, Huffman said he will step down from his position at the company effective January 1st, but will remain on as a board member.
“I believe it is my responsibility to do what I can to help prevent the spread of misinformation, to foster a more respectful, inclusive and just society, and to ensure that our communities are safe and healthy,” Huffman wrote.
He said that “I have decided to resign as the CEO of Reddit, effective January 21st, 2017.”
While he did not specifically mention the US president, Huffmen made clear he was referring to the president.
“I believe we can all agree that the time has come for us to work together to make sure the internet is more free, open, and inclusive,” he wrote.
“My heart goes out to the millions of people who have already lost trust in our government and our institutions.”
A former Trump campaign official who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity said Huffman’s departure could come as a result of his involvement with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
“He had been in touch with the FBI for months, and he was a frequent user on Twitter, and it’s possible that he may have been influenced by that,” the source said.
“It’s hard to imagine that Steve would have taken that step in his current situation, but he could have.”
He said it was unclear whether Huffman was acting on his own or under the influence of his business partner, Alexis Ohanian, who has been charged with obstruction of justice.
“His business partner is in jail and there’s nothing he can do about it,” the official said.
“There is no doubt that Steve was influenced by this business partner.”
Huffman has denied the allegations against Ohanian and has insisted that he was not under the control of the Russians.
“The Russians have nothing to do with Reddit, nor do I know anyone who works for the Russians,” he said in an interview with Business Insider.
Huffmans departure was announced at a Reddit employee event on Thursday, with Reddit’s chief operating officer, Yishang Wong, speaking in the company’s usual capacity.
“Steve’s departure is a natural and appropriate thing to do,” Wong said.
He also confirmed that Huffman will be taking a more formal role at the firm.
“As Reddit’s CEO, Steve is the most important person on our team, and as a team, we have to be strong and effective at protecting Reddit from the many threats and threats that the Trump administration poses to the Internet and the freedom of expression that Reddit is committed to protecting,” Wong wrote.
“We’ve made a commitment to make our work as a company more transparent, more accountable, and more inclusive, and Steve’s leadership and leadership abilities will be a major asset in that effort.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Huckabee’s campaign also weighed in, tweeting that the resignation was “just the beginning” of a “scorched earth” strategy for Trump’s presidency.
“We can’t let Donald Trump get away with this, and that’s why I’m proud to be part of a coalition that is fighting to keep Reddit safe,” Huckabee wrote in a statement.
“The White the people and Reddit must be the most transparent administration in history.”
Huckaman’s resignation comes a day after Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced he was leaving his post to become an adviser to the Trump transition team.