“The Front Page of the Internet,” You Say?

October 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yeah, about that whole “running for President of the internet” thing…

My partner Chris Menning just posted a response piece to the Violentacrez creepshot controversy, which everyone should read. As Chris explains:

Yesterday was one hell of an interesting day in regards to Reddit’s public image. In the morning, BuzzFeed ran a glowing profile piece on founder Alexis Ohanian, “Why is this man running for President of the Internet“ lauding him for his efforts in helping squash SOPA. Ohanian stood infront of a podium adorned with the motto “Making the World Suck Less.”

It’s not clear how Ohanian was making the world suck less when encouraging, benefiting from, and ultimately protecting the actions of a man who posted photos of underage girls for perverts to leer at. And that’s a fact that Gawker’s Adrian Chen raised loudly and clearly when he published what is, in my opinion, the best depiction of Reddit’s success to date: Unmasking Violentacrez, the Biggest Troll on the Web. If you read nothing else on Gawker, let it be this.

Now, in case you haven’t been following along prior to today, many Reddit subforums had already begun banning Gawker links days in advance, in preparation for Chen’s article. In fact, their was an outpouring of support for Violentacrez, real name Michael Brutsch, despite his habit of posting 14 year-old girls their bikinis. Apparently creating and moderating boards like /r/creepshots, /r/jailbait, and /r/picsofdeadjailbait were just fine but when a journalist chose to reveal VA’s identity, this was somehow a gross violation of his privacy.

With how much work Reddit staff goes to portraying themselves in a humanitarian light, calling themselves “the front page of the internet” and “a force for good in a bad world,” it’s important that we all remember that they knew of Violentacrez’s habits of posting exploitative photos and simply looked the other way as long as they could benefit from the traffic he brought to the site.

The full article is here; seriously, read it.


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