Adrian Chen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Adrian Chen
Born (1984-11-23) November 23, 1984 (age 31)
Nationality American
Occupation Journalist

Adrian Chen (born November 23, 1984) is an American freelance journalist, currently working as a contributing editor for The New Inquiry. Chen joined Gawker in November 2009 as a night shift editor, graduating from an internship position at Slate,[1] and has written extensively on internet culture, especially virtual communities such as 4chan and Reddit. Chen is the creator of The Pamphlette, a "humor publication" for Reed College students on a piece of letter-size paper.[2] He has written for the New York Times,[3] New York Magazine,[4] Wired,[5] and other publications.

In October 2012, Chen exposed the real name and details of Violentacrez (a moderator of several Reddit Jailbait communities), a Texas internet developer, who was subsequently fired from his job.[6] This led to all links to Gawker being temporarily banned from Reddit.[7] In September 2012, Chen acquiesced to demands from Anonymous and posted images of himself dressed in a tutu with a shoe perched on his head. The images had been demanded in exchange for interviews regarding an alleged leak of Apple iPhone and iPad user data from an FBI laptop.[8][9][10][11]

Investigative reporting[edit]

Silk Road[edit]

In June 2011, Chen wrote an exposé of Silk Road, a Darknet market which facilitated online drug purchases.[12] Following publication of the article, Chen was interviewed about Silk Road on NPR's All Things Considered.[13] As a result of Chen's investigation, United States Senators Charles Schumer and Joe Manchin publicly called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to shut the site down.[14][15][16]


In February 2012, Chen interviewed a freelancer from oDesk, an outsourcing firm hired to enforce Facebook's content guidelines.[17] The article included the guidelines provided by oDesk.[17][18][19][20]


See also: Michael Brutsch

In October 2012, Chen uncovered the background of Michael Brutsch, a moderator who oversaw several controversial forums such as r/creepshots and r/jailbait under the username 'Violentacrez'. He arranged a phone interview with Brutsch during which Brutsch mentioned he had a disabled wife and pleaded for him to keep his identity secret. Though Chen claimed this "did shake [him] a bit",[21] he published an article revealing his name, location, and workplace on Gawker. The next day, Brutsch was fired from his job.[22] This release of personally identifiable information prompted several subreddits to ban all Gawker link submissions from their site.[7][23] When Chen's article was published it became banned site-wide, which Reddit general manager Erik Martin said was a mistake. "The sitewide ban of the recent Adrien Chen (sic) article was a mistake on our part and was fixed this morning. Mods are still free to do what they want in their subreddits".[24] Chen claims that apart from Reddit, response to his story had been "overwhelmingly positive", telling The Guardian, "I thought there would be more of a backlash about the story, but people really are willing to accept that anonymity is not a given on the internet and if people use pseudonyms to publish sexualised images of women without their consent, and of underage girls, then there's not really a legitimate claim to privacy".[25] For his article revealing Brutsch, Chen received a Mirror Award for Best Profile in the category of Traditional/Legacy or Digital Media.[26]


  1. ^ Chen, Adrian (9 November 2009). "Please Join Me in Welcoming Myself". Gawker. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  2. ^ "The Pamphlette, Vol. 1, Issue 1" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Chen, Adrian (27 November 2013). "Much Ado About Bitcoin". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Chen, Adrian (25 January 2014). "Romanian Hacker Guccifer Skewered and Glorified The Power Elite". New York Magazine. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Chen, Adrian (16 April 2013). "Goatse and the Rise of the Web's Gross Out Culture". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Hess, Amanda (15 October 2012). "Gawker Outed Reddit's Most Notorious Troll. Why Isn't Law Enforcement Doing the Same?". Slate. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Oremus, Will (11 Oct 2012). "Reddit Moderators Ban Gawker in Solidarity With Creepy Porn Purveyor". Slate. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  8. ^ Chen, Adrian (4 September 2012). "Anonymous Demands to See Gawker Writer in Ballet Tutu For More Information on Massive FBI Hack". Gawker Media. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Douglas, Nick (5 September 2012). "Adrian Chen Will Play Your Internet Game, You Rogue". Slacktory. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Lennard, Natasha (4 September 2012). "Hackers release Apple data". Salon. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Charles (4 September 2012). "Gawker writer dons pink tutu in response to Anonymous demand". CNet. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Adrian Chen (1 June 2011). "The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable". Gawker. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  13. ^ NPR Staff (12 June 2011). "Silk Road: Not Your Father's" (Broadcast radio segment). All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 5 November 2011. The e-commerce website Silk Road is being called the of illegal drugs. 
  14. ^ Charles E. Schumer; Joe Manchin (6 June 2011). "Manchin Urges Federal Law Enforcement to Shut Down Online Black Market for Illegal Drugs" (Press release). Press Releases - Newsroom - Joe Manchin, United States Senator, West Virginia. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Schumer Pushes to Shut Down Online Drug Marketplace". NBC New York. Associated Press. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  16. ^ Slattery, Brennon (10 June 2011). "U.S. Senators Want to Shut Down Bitcoins, Currency of Internet Drug Trade". PC World. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Chen, Adrian (16 February 2012). "Inside Facebook's Outsourced Anti-Porn and Gore Brigade, Where 'Camel Toes' are More Offensive Than 'Crushed Heads'". Gawker Media. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Chen, Adrian (16 February 2012). "Facebook Releases New Content Guidelines, Now Allows Bodily Fluids". Gawker Media. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  19. ^ Hill, Kashmir (22 February 2012). "How Facebook Outsources Its Nudity Patrol". Forbes. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Popkin, Helen A. S. "How Facebook keeps the porn, gore and hate out of your News Feed". MSNBC. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Internet troll behind Reddit 'Creepshot' forum where users post sexual pictures of unsuspecting girls fired from his job after his identity is revealed". Daily Mail (London). 15 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Hill, Kashmir (15 Oct 2012). "Why The Internet Cool Kids Think Gawker Outing Reddit's Violentacrez Is The 'Best Story About The Web' This Year". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  24. ^ Notopolous, Katie (13 Oct 2012). "Leaked Reddit Chat Logs Reveal Moderators". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  25. ^ Swash, Rosie (19 Oct 2012). "A new internet age? Web users turn on 'trolls'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  26. ^ O'Shea, Chris (5 June 2013). "The 2013 Mirror Award Winners". FishbowlNY. Retrieved 14 June 2013.