The social link-sharing site Reddit has been hugely influential in driving discussions (and Web traffic) since shortly after its debut in 2005. But only recently has it infiltrated the mainstream media. Part of that exposure was due to its wildly popular “Ask Me Anything” series which hit its peak when President Obama participated in one last August.
But on the heels of perhaps its greatest triumph, Reddit now faces its biggest controversy. Earlier this month, Gawker staff writer Adrian Chen exposed the identity of one of Reddit’s most vile users, a peddler of pornography, misogyny and gore known to his fellow Reddit users (or Redditors) as Violentacrez. In retaliation, some Reddit moderators banned Gawker links from portions of the site, resulting in an Internet-wide debate over free speech, anonymity, and public shaming.
But wait, what’s Reddit again? Our video explains.
Reddit started in 2005
As a place to share the images and stories you like
Others get to comment on and rate your posts
You’ll be on the frontpage with enough up-votes
The site’s divided into what’s called subreddits
Movies, sports, technology, and politics
There are many more on all types of things
From My Little Pony to spacedicks
By 2006 they’d made a big splash
And were bought by the publisher Conde Nast
Now that Reddit and New Yorker are on the same team
They shouldn’t have subreddits with barely-clothed teens
So jailbait was banned because it got bad press
Now everyone’s on reddit even Mr. President
But just when it was on an unstoppable roll
Gawker exposed its most infamous troll
Michael Brutsch, always courting scandal
A peddler of porn and gore who hid behind a handle
When Gawker exposed his identity
Many subreddits banned them, how’s that for free speech?
Reddit wants to protect identities
But today, who expects anonymity?
It makes you wonder what it takes to get banned
If we post this song, will they remove us for spam?