EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Reddit Moderator That Leaked CEO’s Collusion and Bias Brett Gifford and Simon Engle November 25, 2016 9 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Reddit Whistleblower UnimatrixZeroOne speaks out. It has come to light in recent days astounding evidence of corruption, collusion, political bias, and manipulation that has taken place on the so-called “front page of the Internet” Reddit. First with reports and complete confirmation that the CEO of Reddit Inc. Steve Huffman also known as /u/spez or Spez, purposely modified pro-Trump posts and criticism of himself. The pro-Trump subreddit known as /r/The_Donald (with an astounding 300,000+ members) has been a hot topic of discussion and rebellion for the mostly liberal website that it is hosted on. Many times posts on this subreddit have alleged that the administrators of Reddit want to close it down because of political views, but now those allegations are mostly proven to be fact with leaks of private moderator and administrator conversions from one Reddit moderator. Inquir.io got an exclusive chance to sit down and interview the Reddit moderator who had leaked these conversations, the user goes by /u/UnimatrixZeroOne on Reddit. For discretion, UnimatrixZeroOne has assured us that his actions were non-partisan and completely not politically motivated. Q: Which subreddit were you a default mod of and how did you enter this ‘circle’ of admins and moderators? I am a mod of /r/Music and /r/Food, at least as defaults go. I entered that circle by working my way up. One day, /r/StarTrekStabilized blew up and was trending, so I asked to be a moderator and was accepted. I helped with the CSS and other general moderation stuff. Eventually, I was asked to mod /r/Treknobabble, basically just in an advisory position. /u/DrJulianBashir was a co-mod on /r/Treknobabble and also modded /r/Food and /r/Cooking. I asked if /r/Cooking needed any help. After discussing it with the other moderators, he brought me on the team. After about a year, I asked if /r/Food needed any help and eventually became a mod there. I made friends with /u/imjustadude, probably because we were usually up at the same time. One day I noticed he modded /r/Music and asked him about it. When moderator applications went up, I applied and /u/imjustadude put in a good word for me. The rest is history. Q: Along with Spez (Administrator/CEO of Reddit), was there anymore Administrators or people of significant influence involved with this secret Slack, and if so what where their roles in this entire situation? I am unsure just how many admins were in the Slack team, but a good number were. Admins such as RedTaboo, Drunken_Ecnoomist, ocrasorm, and Chtorrr (who is a friend). As far as I am aware, all but Spez had nothing to do with this. Many of them were very mad at Spez for what he did. I don’t remember seeing any of them talk about banning The_Donald. The worst I saw was the occasional comment about it being a nuisance on a couple different occasions. Q: Next, In your opinion does Spez show a different personality to his users than he does in private? I’d have to go back and look at his comments on Reddit, but it doesn’t seem like he puts on a totally different mask in private than in public. The fact is he rarely even talked in the Slack team, it was a very rare occurrence. Q: Was it hard for you personally to leak these conversations, and how has this situation affected you and your inner circles? Was it hard initially? Not as hard as it was until I realized just how much identifying information was in the screenshots. This situation has caused me to lose a few friends and be excluded from many places, including DefaultMods. Also, I am resigning from /r/Music due to feelings on the team. I told them I’d resign if even one of them could no longer trust me. Q: I recall you talking about receiving threats online, what are some of them entailing and how is that affecting you? During this event, I have only received one “threat” that I can remember and it appears to have been deleted after I reported it to the admins. It was basically the generic “kill yourself” message. It isn’t bothering me at all, it just makes me sad that people feel that. Q: If you could do all of this over again would you do it? Yes, but I would black out user images and I would replace Slack names with the Reddit username if they had used their real name on Slack. Q: Do you have any advice for people who could be in a situation similar to yourself, thinking about coming forward? My advice would be to do what you feel is right and is in the best interest of everyone, not just those you consider friends. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard and will hurt people in the process, but it is worth it if it exposes something that could negatively affect far more people by not leaking it. Q: It is a common belief that any user is subject to have their information given to the FBI or the NSA for investigation. Do you think that any submissions or comments are null and void in an investigation because of Spez’ actions? Yes, I do or at least they should be. His actions show that he is willing to do it for a laugh, what is to stop him from doing it for something more important?