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Upvote: This week on Reddit, weapons of mass communication
Reddit is a community, a source of information, and—sometimes—a powerful weapon.
Reddit is a social news site; it’s a community; and sometimes, as this week proves, it’s a weapon.
Hillary Adams knew that.
She’d been viciously abused for years by her father, Texas judge William Adams. And when—as she said—the “straw that broke the camel’s back” happened earlier this week, she didn’t turn to the law for retribution. She went to r/WTF.
The post, titled “Family law judge beats own daughter for using the internet, please spread,” linked to an appalling video that showed Hillary’s father and mother whipping her with a belt. The video lasts seven minutes. It’s hard to watch. Hillary recorded it seven years ago, when she was only 16.
The post quickly shot to Reddit’s front page, then spread to 4chan and all over the Internet. It hit more than a million views within 24 hours. People harassed William Adams at his work — so much, in fact, that the court disconnected his telephone line. By the next morning, Hillary was sitting down with Matt Lauer of the Today Show.
Why did she do it? Lauer wanted to know. Did she want her father to get fired? “I think he really needs help,” Hillary said.
Thankfully the biggest site-specific news on Reddit this week was of a decidedly cheerier sort. Secret Santa 2011 officially launched on Nov. 1. The Reddit-run gift exchange saw 17,000 exchanges last year. That’s easily the biggest gift exchange in the world — except no one’s ever bothered to make it official.
So this year, Reddit staff are in touch with Guiness World Records folks. If the official counter at the RedditGifts site is any indication, they’ve already broken the record by about 20,000 people. Take that, Boots UK Limited!
Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.