Internet's biggest troll says sorry... 'to some degree' Blogger behind 'jailbait' forum claims Reddit staff 'encouraged' him
19th October 2012
A man recently dubbed the "biggest troll" in the history of the internet has offered a cautious apology, saying he is "to some degree" sorry for his online behaviour, but blaming it on an addiction that was cruelly exploited by his favourite social networking website. Michael Brutsch, a 49-year-old computer programmer from Arlington in Texas, says he spent years posting controversial and often questionably-legal photographs, as well as writing offensive messages, because he "wanted to unwind" after a long day at work.
The admission came almost a week after Mr Brutsch was exposed as the man behind "Violentacrez," a prolific user of the website Reddit who created about 600 notorious but popular photo-sharing forums with names like "rapebait," "misogyny," and "chokeabitch." Among his most controversial creations were the Reddit pages "jailbait" and "creepshots," on which users would share suggestive images of teenage girls. Many of the photos appeared to have been taken without consent, and the exact age of their subjects remains unclear.
"With the rape and incest Reddits, I have come around over the last few months to understand that some of these things can be harmful to some people" said Mr Brutsch, a married father-of-two. "All I can say is that... I'm sorry. I have made mistakes. I am to some degree apologising for what I did."
Mr Brutsch was speaking to CNN almost a week after his real identity was unmasked by the website Gawker. Since then, he has faced widespread vilification and been fired by his employer, a local financial services company. "I've lost my job, I'm going to lose my home, my health insurance is gone, my wife is disabled," he complained. Mr Brutsch told how he got "the biggest thrill" setting up offensive web forums and then reading comments from people who were upset by them. One of the most notorious threads managed by his alter ego "Violentacrez" contained photographs taken by a man claiming to be a high-school teacher, who appeared to have used a smart-phone to surreptitiously take photos of unsuspecting female students. Despite the questionable legality of such images, Mr Brutsch claims he was "encouraged and enabled" in his on-line activities by Reddit, who profited from the huge traffic that his most controversial photo forums would generate.
He claimed to have built a close relationship with the site's senior staff. "I had been tasked [by] admins with making certain that there was no overt or real child porn: no naked children, no naked teenagers, no children in swimsuits," he revealed.
Reddit has not publicly discussed its relationship with Mr Brutsch. But in an email to moderators shortly after he was unmasked, the firm's CEO, Yishan Wong, said: "We stand for free speech. This means we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits (forums on Reddit). We will not ban legal content even if we find it odious or if we personally condemn it."
Somewhat surprisingly, given his newfound notoriety, Mr Brutsch said his wife, Dani and their two children are standing by him. And he promised that his career as a "troll" was now over. "Violentacrez is what I did in my spare time to unwind from my 10-hour-a-day job. That's how I relaxed in the evening. I no longer need to relax, because I no longer have a job."
When I was at ROFLOLcon this passed year I went to an interesting panel where one of the speakers just finished her thesis paper study troll behavior on the internet, and one of her key areas to look into was their trolling of RIP pages and the like.
It is a strange and interesting culture with it's own set of rules and regulations (even names etc) and she did have to spend a lot of time delving into that world. So much so that there were hacks onto her computer and eventually Photoshopped pictures of her naked sent to her advisers.
Her main finding when it came to the RIP trolls was that most trolls do not agree with this type of behavior but it is really a small select group that does it. Many of them having multiple accounts and posting under various alias.
One of the other papers was on LOLcat speech and was a bit more upbeat.
British troll jailed for two years after making threat to kill 200 US children on Facebook Father-of-one admits one count of making a threat to kill and eight of sending grossly offensive messages
9 July 2013
A British man who posted a message on Facebook threatening to kill 200 US schoolchildren, has been jailed for over two years. Reece Elliott caused a major security scare in the Tennessee area after posting abusive messages on two tribute pages set up for two US teenagers who had died in road accidents. When challenged about the posts, the 24-year-old sent threatening messages to two teenage girls, telling one of them: "You have been chosen tomorrow at school to receive one of my bullets."
Schools in Warren County, Tennessee subsequently went into lockdown after Elliott posted threats to kill 200 children. Almost 3,000 pupils missed school the day after the postings were made.
The father-of-one was today sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting one count of making a threat to kill and eight of sending grossly offensive messages. He had been held in custody since his arrest in February after he sparked a huge US security scare when he posted the abuse.
Judge James Goss QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, told him the offences were driven by "no more than self-indulgent nastiness". The judge took into account Elliott's early guilty plea and genuine remorse in passing a sentence of 28 months.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You cannot download files in this forum