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Reddit's value hits $1.8B, plans redesign to be more appealing

The CEO for "the front page of the internet" says its $200 million in funding is company's largest ever as it is also hiring more workers.

Reddit is rising as execs say it's now worth $1.8 billion. 

Despite being a playground for silliness, and a cesspool for racists and sexists, Reddit just got its biggest upvote from Silicon Valley's venture capitalists.

The social network, commonly referred to as "the front page of the internet," is now valued at $1.8 billion with plans for a redesign of its website, CEO Steve Huffman told Recode

The new valuation comes after the company raised about $200 million in funding from venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Huffman said the funds raised were Reddit's most ever. 

The money will be used to help the company launch several new unspecified product and business plans, including the redesign and a feature letting users upload video to the site. Reddit declined CNET's request for further comment Monday. 

Reddit was founded in 2005 and currently boasts more than 300 million monthly users -- as compared with Twitter's 328 million and Facebook's 2 billion. Known as a breeding ground for controversy, Reddit is built on sharing and discussing content categorized into hundreds of smaller communities called subreddits. Each subreddit -- often containing positive and negative commentary -- is based on a different area of interest.

On the positive side, it's renown for tracking global crises like terrorist attacks as users provide often timely updates. Reddit is also a major platform for hot debates on topics such as politics and sports. There's also its popular "Ask Me Anything" forums, where public figures and celebrities can be asked, well, anything.

But Reddit is also a breeding ground for several prominent racist and sexist communities. This includes attacks against feminist critics of video games and abusive behavior related to the election of US President Donald Trump. Two years ago, Reddit adopted a new antiharassment policy and shut down several subreddits, including a fat-shaming forum dubbed "FATPEOPLEHATE," which had more than 5,000 subscribers.

Still, that isn't stopping Reddit from moving forward with efforts to make its site more appealing. An early version of the redesign, according to Recode, appears similar to Facebook's News Feed or Twitter's Timeline: "A never-ending feed of content broken up into 'cards' with more visuals to lure people into the conversations hidden underneath."

Huffman said he wants Reddit to be more "visually appealing" for new users coming to the site and to give them a better sense of what it's about. Despite Reddit creating a mobile app last year, about 80 percent of its users visit from desktop.

The company is also hiring. It currently has about 230 employees, up from 140 at the start of 2017, with a goal to reach 300 by year's end, Huffman said. 

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