A hacker turned this ‘Game of Thrones’ forum into a spoiler paradise

A moderator hack turned a largely spoiler-free sub into a Game of Thrones viewer's worst nightmare.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published May 19, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:10 am CDT

Avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers has been a growing problem this season, but for a short time last night, one of the safest places on Reddit to discuss the show turned into a spoiler-phobe’s worst nightmare.

r/gameofthrones and r/asoiaf are subreddits solely devoted to discussing Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. While both discuss the books and the show, r/gameofthrones is generally seen as the friendlier sub (when it comes to spoilers) for people who’ve only seen the television show, thanks in part to the diligence of its moderators—especially on the night of a new episode.

Shortly after “Mockingbird” aired last night, someone hacked the account of moderator libbykino and changed the subreddit to show an image of Joffrey revealing four major spoilers for upcoming episodes (not all of them true). The hacker removed any moderators below libbykino and also created the subreddit r/gameoftrollz, which has since been banned. Reportedly, the hack was due to the hacker having an outside password list, a problem plaguing many subreddits lately.

Naturally, people were pissed.

The subreddit went into panic mode as book readers tried to assure the show viewers that the spoilers were false and told them to turn off the subreddit style. Meanwhile, people took their frustration out on r/gameofthrones and libbykino, with some people calling for libbykino’s removal as a moderator on r/gameofthrones. Emotions were high for the people who read genuine and fake spoilers, and they were angry and confused.

“I was spoiled the death of my favorite character today in this subreddit by someone (or a party) who clearly had the administrative power to pull that kind of trick off,” Nuclearpolitics wrote. “Some of you may say ‘big deal, it’s a show,’ but I believe every person has the right to decide for himself/herself the importance of the matter and I personally wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.”

After the Reddit administrators got involved, the spoiler material was quickly removed and brought under control—“within 20 minutes.” kjhatch explained that while spoiler trolls isn’t a new occurrence in the subreddit, the moderators have usually been able to take care of it so that r/gameofthrones looked like a troll-free subreddit.

“Yes, of course I am sorry the sub was affected by trolling severe enough that it was impossible to miss,” kjhatch wrote. “But this was the first such incident in over four years, and what we do 24/7 has been working very well to block spoiler trolls. This was an isolated event and not a breakdown of the system.”

But with three episodes left to the season, show watchers may be even more wary about going on subreddits to discuss the show.

The Reddit administrators are aware of the hacking situations and advised moderators to alert them to suspicious activity on their accounts.

Photo via GameOfThrones/YouTube

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*First Published: May 19, 2014, 11:59 am CDT