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CNN Warns It May Expose An Anonymous Critic If He Ever Again Publishes Bad Content ( 944

New submitter evolutionary writes: CNN appears to be giving veiled threats at a Reddit user who posted critical comments about the media giant. After an apology was given by the Reddit user (possibly under fear upon discovering CNN had his identity), CNN stated: "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The story stems around Trump's July 2nd tweet, which includes a video showing him wrestle and takedown someone with a photoshopped CNN logo on their head. The video was accompanied by the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN. CNN reportedly tracked down the Reddit user who claimed credit for the tweet and announced they would not publicize the user's identity since they issued a lengthy public apology, promised not to repeat the behavior, and claimed status as a private citizen. However, as The Intercept reports, "the network explicitly threatened that it could change its mind about withholding the user's real name if this behavior changes in the future: 'CNN is not publishing HanA**holeSolo's name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.'"
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CNN Warns It May Expose An Anonymous Critic If He Ever Again Publishes Bad Content

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  • Wtf (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:46PM (#54750155) Homepage
    What the fuck?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      "What the fuck" is me looking at all the zero scores on non-troll posts here. Shills shilling HARD.
    • Re:Wtf (Score:5, Informative)

      by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:53PM (#54751061)
      Well, CNN never actually doxxed the guy.

      But 8chan has now doxxed 6 CNN anchors: David Chalian, Wolf Blitzer, Erik Erickson, Brian Stelter, Don Lemon, and Daniel Merica. Their names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers are up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well, CNN never actually doxxed the guy.

        No, that would have been better...

        They THREATENED to do it, which is a felony... blackmail or extortion is a really serious crime...

  • by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:48PM (#54750171)
    Wow did CNN mess up. And that Cuomo guy truly screwed the pooch* You would think that growing up in a political family, with a Governor for a father and a brother that he wouldn't step in it so badly.

    What a colossal failure on the part of CNN.

    * Yeah. The first time I ever used that expression. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andydread ( 758754 )
      The guy has been advocating for violence against minorities. His identity should have been revealed. And CNN didn't do anything special since any idiot could have done the same, all his information is public
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:49PM (#54750189)

    The guy admitted to them he's a troll, and asked them not to publish his real name because of the potential negative impact his trolling would have on his real life. They said ok, but if you start trolling again we may not be willing to withhold your name.

    What's the better option? What they did, or publish and be damned (with probably at least a bunch of harassment for the guy), or withhold the name but not tell him they might publish in future if he keeps it up? I think they chose a reasonable course.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by postbigbang ( 761081 )

      Although they have a reputation to protect, they could have done this in a much better way. Will Slashdot protect me if I blast CNN for bing milquetoast ninnies? Corporate media lapdogs?

      I don't know. The threats, however, are very very onerous.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:01PM (#54750331)

        I don't think that if this CNN GIF was the only thing this troll had done, he'd be terribly worried about it. From the CNN article:

        "HanA**holeSolo's" other posts on Reddit, some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery

        The troll doesn't want his racist trolling to come back to haunt him. CNN cut him some slack this time. You say they could have done this in a much better way - care to elaborate? As I pointed out above, I only see two other options - publish his name, or not publish and don't give him a warning, which seems disingenuous since the threat is implicit once they have your information.

        I don't have a lot of sympathy for trolls who suddenly find they are not as anonymous as they thought they were.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by postbigbang ( 761081 )

          Why should CNN have this power? I'm loathe to defend either in this case, but it seems that free speech (in lieu of libel/slander) gives a troll a right to his/her boorish behavior.

          • by Charlotte ( 16886 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:35PM (#54750789)

            Why should CNN have this power?

            We all have this power. If someone says something racist to you at a bar, you can record him and publish it with his real name on the youtubes. But should you?

            I agree that CNN should not be the gatekeeper of free speech on the internet. But I think this points to a more basic problem: when do you "out" someone's personal details? Is it enough for someone newsworthy to retweet you for your personal life to be up for grabs?

            I think that it would have been better if CNN had simply said: "This person's details are not newsworthy, so we have anonymised him". My gut feeling (could be wrong) is that this comment was not put past an editor who could weigh in. Another reason could be that CNN does not have an appropriate policy in place to avoid internet shaming, and that the writer acted on his own gut feeling to do so.

            In any case, this should make us think about such a policy....

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              We all have this power. If someone says something racist to you at a bar, you can record him and publish it with his real name on the youtubes. But should you?

              You can do that...

              But what you CANNOT do is to record him and tell him "if you don't do what I want, I'll post it."

              That is blackmail and is a very serious crime...

              • My point is similar. Blackmail, extortion, intimidation, all of these seem what CNN is doing. I'M NOT A FAN of trolls and trollish behavior. However, they should take him/her to court and settle it there.

          • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:38PM (#54750835)

            Why shouldn't they have the power? They were a victim of his trolling, which basically was libel and slander.

            But maybe you're right. They should have just published his name and be done with it. That way all the people affected by his other racist remarks could also seek redress.

            The only thing I find annoying is that I wish they would go after Trump with the same enthusiasm as they went after some random no-account internet troll. Trump is literally reshaping the reality of US with his words. I remember "Fake News" used to mean "News that was fabricated, with maybe a sprinkle of facts to give it legitimacy". Now it means "Anything Trump doesn't like". And a disturbing number of people haven't even noticed the change.

      • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @08:07PM (#54752353) Journal

        Although they have a reputation to protect, they could have done this in a much better way.

        No. *Because* they have a reputation to maintain they had to do in a better way. Now they just look like monsters. They threatened all private individuals not to mock them or risk becoming their target. Anytime you see CNN now, you have to ask yourself "what other information are they suppressing?"

    • by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:56PM (#54750245)
      What are you talking about. He made a f**king animated gif. And CNN is threatening him? WTF?

      You think that if it was reversed - if the CNN wrestler was beating up on Trump - that CNN would go after him? The optics for CNN are f**king awful.
    • Do you seriously believe that narrative? Was a silly GIF of Trump beating up CNN an example of trolling?

      I think you're a shill (and thank fuck this isn't the People's Democratic Republic of Redittstan, where the word "shill" gets me shadow-banned).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it's news then publish it. If its not news then don't publish it. What they're doing has nothing to do with journalism and is straight up blackmail in exchange that he stop saying mean things about CNN on the internet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well if that isn't an example of suppression of free speech, I don't know what is. We don't have to agree, but to threaten to hurt his life has no place. One guy on a forum is hardly newsworthy as he wasn't a politician, nor had a significant following. He had no real power except to piss of an executive. Under no circumstances should any journalist put a condition on releasing information. That crosses the line with a major step. The better option is to ignore it. Not to make themselves the story by comm
  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:51PM (#54750199)
    Remember this when an outlet claims to be anti-doxxing (or anti-harassment, or anti-racism, or anti-etc.) . . . they're full of shit unless they're against it happened to BOTH (read: all) sides.
    • I'm in general against exposing anonymous people without major justification, but it is misleading to call releasing a name by itself "doxxing." When people use that term they often mean things like releasing home addresses, personal telephone numbers, social security numbers etc. That's not the same.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So the gif is re-tweet by Trump.
    CNN got someone to find out where it came from.
    Journalist tracks down person who created it.
    They find out he's a racist piece of shit.
    They try to contact him.
    He freaks the fuck out and deletes everything and apologies.
    He then contacts CNN apologizing and begs them not to name him.
    CNN find him genuine and agree, and publish his account of things.
    CNN reserve the right to publish his name in case he renegs (e.g. 'haha CNN so dumb I played them')
    I see no problem here

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:55PM (#54750237) Journal

    Does CNN not realize that there is a Constitutional right to troll without facing any consequences? It's right there in Article XII of the Constitution. []

    • There are only 7 articles in the constitution.

      Trolling would be covered under the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press
    • by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:11PM (#54750475)
      Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from consequences.
      • by moeinvt ( 851793 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:33PM (#54751547)

        Such a perspective would imply that everyone in the world with the basic ability to communicate has "freedom of speech". Clearly that's not the case. Would you argue that people in Thailand have "freedom of speech"? Even though using their supposed "freedom" in a way that is insulting to the monarchy can have the consequences of a 15 year prison sentence?

        Freedom from consequences is the foundation of freedom of speech. Nobody can actually suppress speech by preventing certain words and ideas from ever being spoken(or typed) in the first place. The only way to stifle free speech is by imposing "consequences" on people. You obviously can't speak "freely" if you are guarding your words to avoid punishment. If you have to fear consequences, other than someone criticizing your ideas & opinions, then you do not have "freedom of speech".

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      The First Amendment protects you from the government. It doesn't protect you from individuals and corporations. Free speech has consequences.
  • Ini other words. . . (Score:4, Informative)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:58PM (#54750283) Journal
    CNN did its job. It investigated who put up the video, just like they have done in every other situation. When they found the person, they confronted them and gave them time to explain [].

    The person, not having the convictions of their actions, agreed to withdraw the video and apologize because, and something not stated in this particular article, he didn't want to bring shame to his family.

    As always, he claimed the anti-semitic remarks he regularly posted weren't really who he was, nor was he in any way proud of what he had done.

    Of course that's not what he said when the video went up:

    After Trump tweeted the video on Sunday, "HanA**holeSolo" took to Reddit to say he was "honored," writing "Holy sâ"!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my sâ"post but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!" MAGA is an acronym for the President's campaign slogan: Make America great again."

    After posting his apology, "HanA**holeSolo" called CNN's KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, "HanA**holeSolo" sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.

    Interestingly, moderators removed the entire apology from the sub group after it was posted.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kind of amazing that CNN is actually capable of doing investigations on their own. Here I didn't think they had it in them. After all, they've been hammering the Trump Russian Collusion story for MONTH after MONTH with such slim evidence in the face of mounting evidence that their supposed version of the events didn't/couldn't have actually happened....

    So, now that Trump Tweets a link to a video, they are going all investigative reporter on some reedit user who actually made the video to amuse his follow

    • They didn't. He went to them. CNN didnt find him.

      Andrew Kaczynski claims he found this guy, but he also claims this guy found him, in two different tweets.

      Andrew Kaczynski job at CNN is going through archival footage and editing it to create new narratives. That is literally his job. The lies he tweets is just a hobby.
  • by maiden_taiwan ( 516943 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @04:59PM (#54750297)

    From another point of view, CNN was perfectly within its rights to publish the critic's name, as the information is newsworthy, but they protected his/her anonymity. Calling CNN's final disclaimer a "threat" is a matter of perspective (and politics, perhaps)....

  • by invid ( 163714 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:00PM (#54750319)

    When I read this article I was surprised at the tone and how they treated the troll. The attitude of the writer was, "Hey everyone! We finally caught a troll! He acts all big and bad online but once we got his name he was all scared and apologetic. Don't be a scared little troll, be good online or we will find you like we found this troll." I think the writer thought he was doing a public service, but in reality he was being a corporate despot. There are people in power who want to get rid of anonymity on the internet, and the fact is, if The Man really wants to know what you do online, The Man will find out. The thing is, this problem with Russian hacking and talk of fake news is giving The Man more reasons to get rid of anonymity online.

    Shameless self promotion, I wrote a cyberpunk novel about this sort of thing called Girl in a Fishbowl []

  • It's pretty straightforward. Trump tweets the third-party content. CNN sees the content and starts to investigate the source of that content -- just as any news outlet would. They find out that the source of the content was from a Reddit user. They see a ton of other disgusting content that the Reddit user also created. BOOM --
    this is a real story... the president is tweeting content from a disgusting internet troll. CNN digs deeper and finds out the identity of the source of that content. Th

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "I don't see the issue here, folks"

      The "troll" is a minor, thus coercion of a minor is FUCKING ILLEGAL, you legally-challenged fuckwit.

  • A question for lawyerly types - would the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN be viewed in a legal sense as accusing CNN of committing fraud in their news coverage? If so, and if the poster cannot prove fraud, I'd think that could leave the poster (and others who use the hashtag?) open to a slander charge.
  • Somebody want to tell me again that the only people who look for anonymity on the internet are pedophiles and terrorists?
  • by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:42PM (#54750887)

    So CNN is willing to let their reporters go to jail to protect the anonymity of a source, but if you are critical of CNN they will doxx you. Nice

  • by acrimonious howard ( 4395607 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:05PM (#54751209)
    I just want to know some of the stuff he apologized about, but this text is the first statement post 1980 to not be searchable on the internet?? How the heck is this possible?

    /me keeps looking...

    • Oh, there [] it is.

      My fellow redditors,

      First of all, I would like to apologise to the members of the reddit community for getting htis site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. I would also like to apologise for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-Semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that hte media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of hte hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.

      As time went on it became an addiction as to how far it could go with the posts that were made. This has been an extreme wake up call to always consider how others may think or feel about what is being said before clicking the submit button anywhere online that an opinion is allowed. Free speech is a right we all have, but it shouldn’t be used in the manner that it was in the posts that were put on this site. Just because you are behind a keyboard doesn’t mean you can’t hurt someone with your words or cause a situation such as this one where a simple meme is misconstrued as a calling for violence.

      I do not advocate violence against the press and the meme I posted was in no way advocating that in any way, shape or form. Our first amendment protects the press from things like violence, and we as American citizens should respect that even if the opinions of the press are not in line with our own. The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it an dhten have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was poted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.

      The internet and social media is capable of a great many things, and this is an example of the not so great things it can do. Trolling to get a reaction out of people is not the best way to make a point, the way to do it is to present your facts ina manner to convey the message that will not invoke anger. To people who troll on the internet for fun, consider your words and actions conveyed in your message and who it might upset or anger. Put yourself in their shoes before you post it. If you have a problem with trolling it is an addiction just like any other addiction someone can have to something, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Trolling is nothing more than bullying a wide audience. Don’t feed your self-worth based upon inflicting suffering upon others online just because you are behind a keyboard. We as redditors and as Americans are better than this.

      So to the members of this community, the site, the media (especially CNN), and anyone offended by the posts, again I apologise. This is one individual that you will not see posting hurtful or hateful things in jest online. This is my last post from this account and I wanted to do it on a positive note and hopefully it will heal the controversy that this all caused. Peace.

      ‘The more you know yourself, the less judgmental you become’ – Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel.

  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @07:00PM (#54751839)

    CNN has no privacy agreement or obligation to keep this person's ID private. Inasmuch as this person has caused a media event thanks to their creative editing, they have made themselves into a newsworthy subject and thus CNN Is well within norms of journalism to reveal who it is.

    For that matter, so is any other part of the media. If any of them also have the identity, then there is ground to attempt to interview them as part of a news story.

    TL;DR version: this person has no expectation of privacy thanks to a news event they helped create. If you want privacy, don't do shit like this or at least be better at hiding who the fuck you are.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @10:00PM (#54753249)

    This happens over and over. Trump does something absolutely reprehensible and indefensible, but one of the accusers did something slightly wrong, and Trump and all his lackeys start obsessing over the minor misdeed so that people stop talking about Trump's problem.

    Trump spends months going after Muslims and Mexicans and is greeted with joy by white supremacists. Then Clinton (fairly accurately) calls about half of his supporters deplorable and gets pilloried by the right for stereotyping.

    Trump is accused of multiple sexual assaults and rapes, so starts talking about Clinton's husband's misdeeds.

    Comey testifies how Trump tried to extract a loyalty pledge from him and asked him to stop investigating Flynn, so Trump and allies start talking about the non-issue of Comey leaking his own private memos to a newspaper.

    Now Trump is again caught repeating stuff that originated with racists, and so obligingly everyone is throwing up the smokescreen of the circumstances under which the racist apologized.

    It doesn't matter.

    Trump, once again, is repeating information that started out with some pretty reprehensible racists. If your buddy starts repeating a bunch of Hitler quotes your response shouldn't be "well he's not repeating the nasty stuff about Jews so I guess it's fine", you should be "WFT? Has he been talking to NAZIs? What's he got into his head that he's smart enough not to repeat to me?!?"

    If you're an American then far-right extremists are among your President's biggest influences, this is the thing that should concern you.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison