Off the Media

It’s War: Scale and Intimacy Duke it Out in the Comments Section

One of the ironies of American “high societies” is that some of its most prestigious institutions were founded by members of what was, at the time, one of the lowliest professions: journalism.

Take the Bohemian Club, the private refuge of many future and ex-presidents, billionaires and captains of industry. It was started by a bunch of dirty staff writers at the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1870s. Read More

Off the Media

Exposing the Racket: A Simple Stunt Reveals How Blogs Will Print Anything for Pageviews

It doesn’t take Noam Chomsky to see that the state of media is bad.

But in 2011, I had the sense that most people didn’t fully grasp the absurd lows the system was spiraling toward. So I set out to illustrate it.

And in the process surprised even myself.

When I sold my first book of media criticism to Portfolio/Penguin, I decided to use the launch itself as an experiment. I even wrote some of the experiment into my book proposal and subsequent deal.

Read More

Internet Drama

Violentacrez Admits He Did It All for ‘Meaningless Internet Points’ on Anderson Cooper 360

(Photo: CNN)

Michael Brutsch, the 49-year-old Texas resident whom Gawker outed last week as the man behind the racist and misogynistic Reddit troll account Violentacrez, is slated to appear tonight on Anderson Cooper 360.

In sound bites published to CNN’s Press Room blog, Mr. Brutsch speaks with CNN’s Drew Griffin about his experiences moderating the controversial subreddit Jailbait, where users posted sexualized photos of minors before it was shut down by Reddit last year. Read More

Internet Drama

Reddit CEO in Memo Leaked to Gawker: ‘We Are Not Going to Ban Distasteful Subreddits’

(Photo: Reddit)

As the story of notorious Reddit user Violentacrez and the controversial subreddits he moderated sinks its tentacles into the greater internet, Reddit administrators–known for their laissez-faire attitude toward site moderation–have remained astonishingly mum. In conversations with Betabeat, Reddit general manager Erik Martin gave little indication as to how Reddit intends to handle the Violentacrez and Creepshots fracas, except to admit that two of the subreddits had been banned by admins.

But a thread published by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, posted to a private subreddit for moderators and obtained by Gawker, sheds some light on Reddit’s intentions toward the controversial content on its platform: Read More

Internet Drama

Creepshots Reemerges Under the Guise of a ‘Fashion Police’ Subreddit

(Photo: Reddit)

The creeps just can’t be held down. Jezebel reports that the subreddit Creepshots–which has been at the forefront of controversy recently and helped spur a war between Gawker Media and Reddit–is back in action.

The original Creepshots subreddit was banned by Reddit administrators last week, along with “Creepsquad,” a new subreddit which had popped up to collect Creepshots refugees. In an attempt to retaliate against Jezebel for posting the original feature about Creepshots, Creepsquad posted a photo of Jezebel writer Katie J.M. Baker to its front page.

Reddit general manager Erik Martin confirmed to Betabeat that Creepsquad was banned by Reddit administrators, but did not elaborate as to why. Typically, subreddits are only banned if they break one of Reddit’s five rules.

Having been ousted from Creepshots and Creepsquad, Redditors are now collecting in r/Cshots and r/CandidFashionPolice, invoking the term “candid” to justify the photos posted in these forums without the consent of the women featured in them. Read More

Internet Drama

Predditors, the Controversial Blog Publishing Personal Info About Redditors Behind Creepshots, is Back up and Running

(Screengrab: Predditors)

Predditors, the Tumblr that posts the personal information of Reddit users who publish photos to the controversial subreddit Creepshots, is back up and running after a tumultuous few days. The blog was initially removed by Tumblr after administrators there mistakenly believed that the information being published was personal information. In fact, the author of Predditors is simply stringing together information available on public profiles posted by the users. Read More

Scandals

Violentacrez Takes to Reddit to Solicit Sympathy, PayPal Donations

(Photo: Gawker)

Violentacrez, a notorious Reddit user who moderated controversial subreddits like Creepshots and Jailbait, was revealed by Gawker on Friday to be a Texas-based IT worker named Michael Brusch. Adrian Chen’s post, “Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web,” painstakingly detailed Mr. Brusch’s dark online history–including the fact that he has created subreddits for submission of racist, sexist and borderline pedophiliac content–and served as the apex of a brewing inter-website war.

Now, Violentacrez has returned to Reddit under his “clean” handle–mbrutsch–in an attempt to explain his side of the story. In a subreddit for point and click adventure games, Mr. Brutsch surfaced, publishing an innocuous link entitled “Tea Break Escape.” But comments on this link quickly turned to Mr. Brutsch and how he is dealing with the fallout from the Gawker article. Read More