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Anatomy of a manufactured controversy

Max Read was the first Gawker writer to point out reddit's big fusking problem.

Wow, 8000... that's like, .0001% of the world's estimated population!

The story, published on August 8, 2012, explained how the crafty fuskers in one particular subreddit were harvesting nude images which women had posted of themselves on Photobucket, where they assumed the images would be private. Of course, if the user actually set her album to private, the image will not show on Reddit, and the sub's fusking users would not be able to see it... but that is beside the point.

Photobucket's administrators did not put up with the association of their name with this shady fusking practice. A takedown notice was sent, and the subreddit was removed. Problem solved, right?  
Well, no. Not exactly. The users figured out that the effective objection was the use of Photobucket's name. The sub returned, with a new name excluding the word Photobucket, and the practice of surreptitious posting from photobucket albums continued, though now with a new rule dictating the posters go the "no fusking" way. The difference? Well, possibly none, really. How would the moderators actually know, unless they are told?

What an interesting and catchy headline!
While many individuals may immediately shake their heads and point out that anyone who cares whether nude images of themselves might leak onto the open web and be seen by others could and should simply refrain from creating them and sharing them online, for a short time, Gawker's writers decided the practice was a big fusking deal... at least enough for a second story, within which the CEO of Photobucket is quoted as stating that some 50 private accounts had been fusking violated. While reddit isn't directly blamed for that, the statement is placed in conjunction with the only mention the new sub's No Fusking rule.     

Needless to say, the outrage against this fusking invasion of privacy was huge, with Reddit's self-proclaimed "fempire" throwing its weight into protecting the poor, victimized girls of photobucket from their own naivety, successfully taking down the new subreddit in the effort known as project...

project... uh...

Nothing. Nada. Kaput. There was no specific project, little effort, bare outrage. In a conspicuous inaction I think I'll call Fusk You, Photobuckettes, the femosphere seems to have gone strangely silent on the sub... and nothing was done about its existence.

So what were the Thought Police of Reddit and Jezebel working on that was more important than addressing the surreptitious pilfering of private nude photos for public display? What was a bigger deal than that? What idea was more upsetting to the denizens of the  "fempire?"

For that we have to go back in time a bit... to an article posted by Jezebel's Katie J.M. Baker.
The article laments the ability of individuals with camera phones to photograph (clothed) people in public places and share those photos on reddit without anyone's permission. While it is grudgingly acknowledged in the fifth paragraph that the activities of the subreddit's photographers weren't illegal, Baker spends the rest of the article decrying the practice with emphasis on images focusing on body parts, and shots from "strategic angles" which show undergarments... kinda like those shown in Gawker writer Writer Maureen O'Connor's Upskirt post chronicling the deliberate and accidental nudity of Lindsay Lohan... because apparently, it's only okay when Gawker does it. It is interesting (but inconclusive of anything) to note that Baker cites r/feminism, r/feminisms, and r/girlsinyogapants as having complained about r/creepshots, but does not mention r/shitredditsays, the subreddit's most vehement and outspoken group of opponents and their anti-voyeur movement, Project Panda.


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