- 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)
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.
Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked
The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally.
Login and Credit Card Info Secure
Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.
“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.
The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.
As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools.
Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?
While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move.
It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users.
At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention.
“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.
“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads.
“I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments.
The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn
The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.
Massive Collection of Data Leaked
Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.
Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.
The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.
These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators.
Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.
Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.
“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”
Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.
“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.”
Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”
Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations.
Could More Data Come Out?
This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two.
For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”
They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.
Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets.
Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.