One day after Gawker outed Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch, “the biggest troll on the web,” Brutsch was back, this time as himself, mrbrutsch. What’s more, according to a leaked screenshot that SocialTimes obtained yesterday, Brutsch has been invited to participate in secret moderator discussions in a private subreddit. Why?
Christie BarakatChristie Barakat is a freelance writer and assistant professor of media and psychology in Florence, Italy. Find her on Twitter at @christiebrkt.
Hacker-activist group, Anonymous, released detailed online records of a man who goes by the online pseudonym, Viper, after the group incorrectly identified another man as Amanda Todd’s tormentor days earlier. Todd is the 15-year-old Canadian girl who recently took her own life after being incessantly bullied both online and off for three years. Todd made a Youtube video detailing her torment and begging for help one month earlier.
Yesterday, Reddit’s biggest troll and contributor to the its sleaziest subreddits, Michael Brutsch (a.k.a. Violentacrez), gave an exclusive interview to CNN. He was obviously nervous and according to the interviewer, “Showed up early and couldn’t wait to get on television.”
Much of the content uploaded or moderated by Michael Brutsch, aka Violentacrez was, by his own admission, pornographic. His images graced the pages of infamous subreddits like r/jailbait, which Brutsch tried to top with r/picsofdeadjailbait after the former was called out for being the worst subreddit on all of Reddit. In his heyday, Brutsch was involved in over 400 subreddits with questionable content.
After CNN’s Anderson Cooper brought mainstream attention to the shady subreddits eight months ago, Reddit banned 31 of them. Before that time, administrators had not attempted to clean up the cesspool. And while some of these subreddits were banned, the users and moderators who created and participated in them were not.
In what now seems to have been a crisis management strategy, Reddit also implemented a new rule, which was explained in a link called, “Necessary change in policy.” No suggestive or sexual content featuring minors. What appeared to be a categorical prohibition on content that no reasonable, prudent person would consider “protected speech,” failed to fulfill its promise and led instead to a false sense of security. Then complacency set in. Meanwhile, Reddit’s new rule slipped outside to have a smoke and was never heard from again.
Facebook has long been criticized for a cavalier attitude toward privacy. If you haven’t had a negative experience related to your Facebook photos, you most likely know someone who has. Often these experiences cause serious consequences for the person whose photo was uploaded. Not only does Facebook use convoluted language and legalese hidden in the terms of service, but users are also required to go through tedious and time-consuming processes in an attempt to safeguard or remove their content.
The buzz surrounding Charlie Cheever’s abrupt departure from Quora and the successive public relations blunders of his former colleagues has grabbed the attention of Twitter, tech blogs and Quora users themselves. The criticism of Quora that dominates these expressions seems to have unmasked an unpleasant reality largely unspoken in the Quora community.
Quora is buzzing with speculation regarding the sudden departure of one of its founders, Charlie Cheever, only four months after the company received an infusion of $50 million. The Silicon Valley startup has been hailed as the next big thing in social media, but growth is sluggish and users are in revolt.