Adrian Chen

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Adrian Chen
Adrian Chen at The Influencers in 2017
Adrian Chen at The Influencers in 2017
Born (1984-11-23) November 23, 1984 (age 34)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationJournalist

Adrian Chen (traditional Chinese: 陳力宇; simplified Chinese: 陈力宇; pinyin: Chén Lìyǔ;[1] born November 23, 1984) is an American journalist, and staff writer at The New Yorker. Chen joined Gawker in November 2009 as a night shift editor, graduating from an internship position at Slate,[2] 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.[3] He has written for the New York Times,[4] New York Magazine,[5] Wired,[6] 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.[7] This led to all links to Gawker being temporarily banned from Reddit.[8] 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.[9][10][11][12]

In 2016, he became a staff writer for The New Yorker.[13]

Personal background[edit]

Chen was born to Harry Chen and Anne Lezak.[14] His father Harry is ethnic Chinese[15] and religiously Christian and his mother Anne is Jewish.[16] He has two sisters Alyssa and Laurel.[14] His father Dr. Harry L. Chen, M.D. is an emergency medicine physician[17][18][19] and former Vermont Health Commissioner.[20][21] His maternal grandfather was Sidney I. Lezak,[22] former U.S. Attorney for Oregon for more than 20 years.[23][24]

Investigative reporting[edit]

Silk Road[edit]

In June 2011, Chen wrote an exposé of Silk Road, a Darknet market which facilitated online drug purchases.[25] Following publication of the article, Chen was interviewed about Silk Road on NPR's All Things Considered.[26] 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.[27][28][29]

Facebook[edit]

In February 2012, Chen interviewed a freelancer from oDesk, an outsourcing firm hired to enforce Facebook's content guidelines.[30] The article included the guidelines provided by oDesk.[30][31][32][33]

Reddit[edit]

In October 2012, Chen uncovered the background of Michael Brutsch, a moderator who oversaw several controversial Reddit 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",[34] he published an article revealing his name, location, and workplace on Gawker. The next day, Brutsch was fired from his job.[35] This release of personally identifiable information prompted several subreddits to ban all Gawker link submissions from their site.[8][36] 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".[37] 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".[38] For his article revealing Brutsch, Chen received a Mirror Award for Best Profile in the category of Traditional/Legacy or Digital Media.[39]

The public outpouring of hostility towards Brutsch following the exposé prompted commentators such as Danah Boyd at Wired and Michelle Star of CNET to question the morality of outing as a way to enforce societal standards online.[40][41] Several commentators have expressed concern that the public shaming of Brutsch may serve as an example to others, legitimizing online vigilantism and exposing individuals such as Brutsch to mass retribution.[40][41] Mez Breeze has suggested in The Next Web that, in outing Brutsch, Chen engaged in a type of trolling, making Brutsch "the victim of unwanted bullying and substantial negative attention" as a result of the exposé.[42]

PropOrNot[edit]

PropOrNot is a group that seeks to expose what it calls Russian propaganda and published a list of websites they called "bona-fide ‘useful idiots’" of the Russian government based on methodology they called "a combination of manual and automated analysis, including analysis of content, timing, technical indicators, and other reporting".[43] Chen was critical of The Washington Post's decision to put the story on its front page. He wrote in an article titled "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda": "The story topped the Post’s most-read list, and was shared widely by prominent journalists and politicians on Twitter. ... But a close look at the report showed that it was a mess."[44] Looking more carefully into their methodology, Chen argued that PropOrNot's criteria for establishing propaganda were so broad that they could have included "not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself" on their list.[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adrian Chen [@AdrianChen] (19 October 2016). "My dad sent me my Chinese name for some reason. Extremely accurate:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Chen, Adrian (9 November 2009). "Please Join Me in Welcoming Myself". Gawker. Archived from the original on 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ "The Pamphlette, Vol. 1, Issue 1" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  4. ^ Chen, Adrian (27 November 2013). "Much Ado About Bitcoin". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  5. ^ Chen, Adrian (25 January 2014). "Romanian Hacker Guccifer Skewered and Glorified The Power Elite". New York Magazine. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  6. ^ Chen, Adrian (16 April 2013). "Goatse and the Rise of the Web's Gross Out Culture". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Oremus, Will (11 Oct 2012). "Reddit Moderators Ban Gawker in Solidarity With Creepy Porn Purveyor". Slate. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  9. ^ Chen, Adrian (4 September 2012). "Anonymous Demands to See Gawker Writer in Ballet Tutu For More Information on Massive FBI Hack". Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  10. ^ Douglas, Nick (5 September 2012). "Adrian Chen Will Play Your Internet Game, You Rogue". Slacktory. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  11. ^ Lennard, Natasha (4 September 2012). "Hackers release Apple data". Salon. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  12. ^ Cooper, Charles (4 September 2012). "Gawker writer dons pink tutu in response to Anonymous demand". CNet. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Adrian Chen". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  14. ^ a b http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rutlandherald/obituary.aspx?pid=166403445
  15. ^ Adrian Chen [@AdrianChen] (17 May 2017). "@aanatuaa no, my dad's Chinese American" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Adrian Chen [@AdrianChen] (25 November 2015). "@DavidADorsey i guess i'm agnostic too. my mom is jewish, my dad christian. didn't grow up religious at all" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "Harry L Chen - Profile by Zocdoc". Zocdoc.
  18. ^ "Harry L. Chen: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com.
  19. ^ "Commissioner Harry Chen, Vermont Department of Health". CCTV Center for Media and Democracy. 27 September 2011.
  20. ^ Hallenbeck, Terri. "Vermont Health Commissioner Chen Will Not Seek Reappointment".
  21. ^ Ledbetter, Stewart (4 March 2017). "Vermont Health Commissioner steps down, looks to new adventure".
  22. ^ Adrian Chen [@AdrianChen] (17 January 2013). "@mickeylindsay sidney Lezak" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Turner, Wallace; Times, Special to the New York (6 December 1981). "Oregon's U.s. Attorney Since '61 Leaving Job" – via NYTimes.com.
  24. ^ Adrian Chen [@AdrianChen] (17 January 2013). "My grandfather was Oregon's U.S. Attorney for 20 yrs + he was most proud of his exercise of discretion. He went easy on Vietnam resisters" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Adrian Chen (1 June 2011). "The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable". Gawker. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  26. ^ NPR Staff (12 June 2011). "Silk Road: Not Your Father's Amazon.com" (Broadcast radio segment). All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 5 November 2011. The e-commerce website Silk Road is being called the Amazon.com of illegal drugs.
  27. ^ Charles E. Schumer; Joe Manchin (6 June 2011). "Manchin Urges Federal Law Enforcement to Shut Down Online Black Market for Illegal Drugs". Press Releases - Newsroom - Joe Manchin, United States Senator, West Virginia. Archived from the original (Press release) on 2012-05-08. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  28. ^ "Schumer Pushes to Shut Down Online Drug Marketplace". NBC New York. Associated Press. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  29. ^ Slattery, Brennon (10 June 2011). "U.S. Senators Want to Shut Down Bitcoins, Currency of Internet Drug Trade". PC World. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  30. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  31. ^ Chen, Adrian (16 February 2012). "Facebook Releases New Content Guidelines, Now Allows Bodily Fluids". Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  32. ^ Hill, Kashmir (22 February 2012). "How Facebook Outsources Its Nudity Patrol". Forbes. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  33. ^ Popkin, Helen A. S. "How Facebook keeps the porn, gore and hate out of your News Feed". MSNBC. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  35. ^ "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.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ Notopolous, Katie (13 Oct 2012). "Leaked Reddit Chat Logs Reveal Moderators". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  38. ^ Swash, Rosie (19 Oct 2012). "A new internet age? Web users turn on 'trolls'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  39. ^ O'Shea, Chris (5 June 2013). "The 2013 Mirror Award Winners". FishbowlNY. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  40. ^ a b Boyd, Danah (29 October 2012). "Truth, Lies, and 'Doxxing': The Real Moral of the Gawker/Reddit Story". Wired. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  41. ^ a b Starr, Michelle (17 October 2012). "Gawker, Reddit's Violentacrez and the internet vigilantes". CNET. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  42. ^ Breeze, Mez (27 October 2012). "The problems with anonymous trolls and accountability in the digital age". The Next Web. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  43. ^ Nelson, Steven (November 29, 2016). "Publications Called Russian-Propaganda Distributors Consider Suing Anonymous 'Experts'". U.S. News & World Report.
  44. ^ a b Chen, Adrian (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker.