Reddit Axes Relationship With Controversial Admin After More Than 200 Subreddits Go Dark in Protest
- Aimee Knight, a controversial Reddit admin, was forced out of her role at the company after more than 200 subreddits protested against her hiring by setting their communities to private on Wednesday.
- Knight is a former low-level U.K. politician who employed her father during an election campaign while he was charged with raping a 10-year-old girl. Her fiance has also been accused of tweeting about disturbing child sex fantasies.
- “This site still has a major pedophilia problem and a person in the role of ‘community management’ has troubling connections to pedophilia,” one Reddit user said. “I don’t think the admin is a pedophile herself, but she has shown in multiple ways that she cannot be trusted to handle the issue properly.”
Who Is Aimee Knight?
Reddit broke ties with one of its admins Wednesday after more than 200 subreddits turned their communities private in protest of her hiring.
That admin, 23-year-old Aimee Knight, is a former low-level politician in the United Kingdom. In 2016, she became the equality spokesperson for the U.K.’s Green Party; however, in 2018, Knight was suspended from the party after making her father, David Challenor, her election agent while running for the party’s deputy leadership position.
While acting as her election agent, Challenor also stood accused of raping a 10-year-girl and holding her captive in his attic — something he would ultimately be convicted of.
An independent report later concluded that Knight’s hiring of her father resulted in “someone who had committed serious sexual offences [being] given roles of responsibility within the Green Party during a period of almost two years.”
In 2019, Knight was also suspended from the Liberal Democrats party after her fiance tweeted about disturbing child sex fantasies. At the time, Knight claimed that her fiance’s Twitter account had been hacked.
Reddit Moderator Suspended for Indirect Mention of Knight
On Wednesday, a moderator in the subreddit r/UKPolitics linked to an article that mentioned Knight in passing. Soon after, Reddit issued a permanent suspension against that moderator.
In an attempt to figure out why the platform had banned one of its moderators, r/UKPoltics temporarily went private.
Shortly afterward, Reddit admins reversed the ban on that moderator and said the issue had been an accident stemming from a moderation rule that was “too broad.”
“Earlier this month, a Reddit employee was the target of harassment and doxxing,” Reddit Admin Safety said in a statement. “Reddit activated standard processes to protect the employee from such harassment, including initiating an automated moderation rule to prevent personal information from being shared… this week it incorrectly suspended a moderator who posted content that included personal information.”
Given that Reddit never directly revealed the identity of that employee, many assumed the admins were referring to Knight — a fact that was later confirmed.
As far as why Reddit instituted an “automated moderation rule” around her name, Knight is transgender and in addition to the doxxing Reddit said she faced, she’s been a frequent target for anti-trans activists trying to paint all trans people as sexual predators.
Knight Removed From Reddit
Though the issue with r/UKPolitic’s moderator had been largely resolved, many Reddit users were furious to learn that the platform had hired Knight.
“This site still has a major pedophilia problem and a person in the role of ‘community management’ has troubling connections to pedophilia,” one user said. “I don’t think the admin is a pedophile herself, but she has shown in multiple ways that she cannot be trusted to handle the issue properly.”
Hundreds of subreddits then began going private in protest, including ones for Among Us, Pokemon Go, and even r/Music, which has 27 million members. Moderators for those communities said they would remain private until admins issued a direct statement on Knight, fired her, or both.
Hours later, that protest paid off.
In a statement posted to the platform Wednesday evening, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman responded, saying, “As of today, the employee in question is no longer employed by Reddit.”
“We built a relationship with her first as a mod and then through her contractor work on [Reddit Public Access Network],” he added. “We did not adequately vet her background before formally hiring her.”
“Mentioning a public figure’s name should not get you banned… and we’ll be evolving a number of relevant internal policies.”
Following that “win” by moderators, the subreddits that went private have all become public once more.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Business Insider) (Newsweek)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.