Internet Drama

Reddit Bans Creepshots and Creepsquad, the Subreddits That Fueled Its ‘War’ With Gawker

Creepsquad has been banned after publishing a photo of the Jezebel reporter Katie J.M. Baker.
screen shot 2012 10 11 at 6 18 02 pm Reddit Bans Creepshots and Creepsquad, the Subreddits That Fueled Its War With Gawker

(Photo: Reddit)

For the last few hours, the controversial subreddit Creepshots–which is at the center of an “inter-website war” over photos users published of non-consenting women–has been inaccessible.

The message “This subreddit has been banned” is affixed front and center. The banned page notes that the subreddit may have been caught in the site’s spam filter, but Reddit general manager Erik Martin confirmed to Betabeat that a moderator from Creepshots asked an admin to ban the subreddit.

Previously: Reddit Readies for Brewing ‘Inter-Website War’; Major Subreddits Ban Link to Gawker Media

Creepshots’ former members immediately flocked to r/Creepsquad, set up for refugees of the shuttered subreddit. Now, Mr. Martin has also confirmed to Betabeat that Reddit administrators have decided–without moderator request–to ban Creepsquad as well. It went dark around 8 p.m. this evening.

Mr. Martin, who is still on the Reddit Open Internet bus tour, declined to elaborate why the subreddit had been banned.

Earlier this evening, the moderators of Creepsquad published a photo of Jezebel journalist Katie J.M. Baker to the front page of the subreddit, perhaps in an effort to intimidate her. Ms. Baker has been the target of Reddit backlash following a story she published yesterday featuring an interview with the anonymous woman behind Predditors, a Tumblr that publishes the personal information of Creepshots members who have been publishing photos of women without their consent. Predditors was removed by Tumblr, but has since been reinstated after a Tumblr spokesman said it was mistakenly believed to be revealing private information. Tumblr users have been passing around a master list of the “Predditors” after the author password-protected the original Tumblr.

Previously: Tumblr Reinstates Predditors, the Controversial Blog Publishing Personal Info About Redditors Behind Creepshots

Ms. Baker appears to be taking it all in stride. “Flattered that moderators of r/Creepsquad respect me enough to put a photo of me on the main page of their subreddit!” she coyly tweeted.

The removal of Creepsquad by Reddit admins comes as somewhat of a surprise. In an interview with Buzzfeed earlier today, Mr. Martin emphasized that Reddit does not remove content unless it violates one of Reddit’s five rules. That implies that Creepsquad was removed because it violated one of those tenets, though he did not offer any details other than to admit it was removed by administrators.

There is precedent for banning subreddits. Last year, Reddit found itself embroiled in a controversy over r/jailbait, a subreddit where users posted sexualized photos of minors. Reddit subsequently updated its policy to include a new rule.

UPDATE: 

Reddit community manager and site admin David Croach has banned Potato_in_my_anus, the maturely-named user who created the now-banned subreddit Creepsquad. In a thread on Subreddit Drama, Mr. Croach wrote:

Regarding PIMA’s ban…

There are actually a lot of rules that we (the admins) recently found out when we investigated his (PIMA’s) account that he had broken. The most recent one was creating a subreddit that disregarded the rules of reddit regarding sexualizing teens/minors, and not being active in moderating posts that broke that rule. He’s had multiple offenses in that category.

Here is a screenshot of the photo that Creepsquad posted of Ms. Baker, without comment, to the front page of the subreddit:

screen shot 2012 10 11 at 6 22 10 pm Reddit Bans Creepshots and Creepsquad, the Subreddits That Fueled Its War With Gawker

(Photo: Reddit)

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com