Reddit rolls out user profiles amid site makeover

Reddit mascots are displayed at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California in this April 15, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

(Reuters) - Social media network Reddit announced on Tuesday that it will begin rolling out public profiles for users, the latest in a series of changes aimed at boosting engagement on the hugely popular site.

With the change, users will be able to post content directly to their profile pages and follow other individuals’ pages, in line with the model of social networks such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.

For more than a decade, Reddit has revolved around forums dedicated to topics ranging from politics to facial hair. While the forums attract vast audiences, users have struggled to share personal content due to rules banning self-promotion, said Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

“If you yourself are someone who wants to share something, it’s pretty daunting,” he said in an interview.

The feature will debut on Tuesday with three high-profile users, and will roll out to more users in the coming months, Reddit said.

Reddit has undergone a makeover since Ohanian and co-founder Steve Huffman returned to the company in 2015. The new feature caps off a year in which the site has created new teams to fight spam and curb harassment, in addition to hiring more than 100 new employees. Ohanian said he began working on the profile feature more than a decade ago, during his first stint at Reddit.

“We’re now in a position where we can start doing product improvements that are admittedly overdue but represent a real level up for Reddit,” said Ohanian.

Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Leslie Adler