Ashley Feinberg

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Ashley Feinberg
Born1989/1990 (age 30–31)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Alma materTrinity University
Notable awardsForbes 30 Under 30
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Ashley Feinberg is an American journalist. She most recently worked as a senior writer at Slate, covering politics, media, and technology.[1] She is known for her internet sleuthing, through which she has uncovered information about the online activity of public figures.[2]


Feinberg was born in Dallas.[3] She attended Trinity University and studied English and Communication, graduating in 2012.[4]


Feinberg began her journalism career in 2011 as an intern at the San Antonio Current.[3] She joined Gizmodo in 2013 as an Editorial Assistant.

Feinberg drew attention with how-to story about the "creepiest things you can do on Facebook, such as tagging yourself in someone else’s engagement photo and requesting a relationship status."[3] She later was promoted as a staff writer at Gawker.[3] Discussing Gawker's closing in 2016, HuffPost cited Feinberg's work for the site among the reasons that "[i]f you care about free speech, then you should care about Gawker."[5]

In August 2015, Feinberg broke news of 19 Kids and Counting participant and conservative Christian activist Josh Duggar's use of Ashley Madison, an online dating service marketed to married people seeking extramarital affairs.[6] Duggar's paid accounts was exposed in a July 2015 hacking of the site.[6]

In March 2017, she discovered FBI director James Comey's secret Twitter and Instagram accounts,[7] which he confirmed later that year.[8] Comey had previously mentioned a secret account in an interview[9] and Feinberg connected the pseudonym "Reinhold Niebuhr", who was the subject of Comey's college thesis.[10]

In October 2017, Feinberg joined HuffPost.[3] She later joined Slate, in May 2019.[1]

Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Matthew Kassel said, "Feinberg’s highly ironized persona gives her the air of a digital-era Andy Kaufman."[3] Feinberg's Gawker colleague John Cook described her as "sort of an anti-troll...She uses the weapons of the troll for the forces of good."[3]

Her interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was reported internationally,[11] with Dorsey and commentators saying that it made Dorsey "look bad".[12]

Feinberg was chosen for the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list, which noted she is "known for uncovering secrets about public figures through digital sleuthing, having discovered Donald Trump Jr.’s hundreds of posts on an online hunting forum, Sebastian Gorka’s Amazon wishlist and James Comey’s once-private Twitter account" as well as Duggar's Ashley Madison account.[13]

In August 2019, Feinberg and her former employer, the Huffington Post, were sued for defamation by Professor Derrick Evans for a 2018 article alleging he and Douglas Kennedy had supplied cocaine to fellow students at Georgetown Preparatory School during Brett Kavanaugh's time there, while also insinuating a connection to the drug overdose death of Kennedy's brother.[14]

In October 2019, Feinberg uncovered an anonymous Twitter account that Republican senator Mitt Romney had used to, among other political comments, post criticism of Donald Trump.[15]

In December 2019 she investigated editors on the English Wikipedia who made edits that appeared to have been written either by Pete Buttigieg or by an individual with intimate knowledge of his early life, family, education, friends, and career. The Buttigieg campaign responded that these editors were not Buttigieg.[16][17][18][19]


  1. ^ a b "Slate Hires Ashley Feinberg". The Daily Beast. May 29, 2019. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  2. ^ "Longform Podcast #366: Ashley Feinberg". Longform. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kassel, Matthew (January 9, 2018). "Ashley Feinberg trolls for all the right reasons". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Trotter, JK (May 26, 2017). "A Scrapbook Of Our Ashley Feinberg Memories On Her Last Day Of School". Deadspin. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Amatulli, Jenna (August 18, 2016). "10 Stories That Made Gawker Infamous". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Pai, Tanya (May 27, 2015). "19 Kids and Counting's Josh Duggar admits to infidelity and porn addiction". Vox. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Schwedel, Heather (October 23, 2017). "James Comey's Six Tweets, Reviewed". Slate Magazine. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Boorstein, Michelle (November 6, 2017). "Why did James Comey name his secret Twitter account 'Reinhold Niebuhr'? Here's what we know". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Comey confirms 'secret' Twitter account". BBC. October 24, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Wolf, Z. Byron (October 24, 2017). "Comey confirms he's 'Reinhold Niebuhr' in the strangest way". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Farzan, Antonia Noori (January 18, 2019). "Would calling for murder get Trump banned from Twitter? CEO Jack Dorsey won't say". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Hamilton, Isobel Asher (January 18, 2019). "Jack Dorsey says he doesn't care about 'looking bad' after a bizarre Huffington Post interview". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "The 2019 30 Under 30: Media". Forbes. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  14. ^ Pitofsky, Marina (August 22, 2019). "Mississippi professor, who went to Georgetown Prep with Brett Kavanaugh, sues HuffPost". TheHill. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  15. ^ Montanaro, Domenico (October 21, 2019). "Mitt Romney, 'Pierre Delecto' And The Strategy Of Anonymously Criticizing Trump". Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  16. ^ Feinberg, Ashley (December 20, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg's Campaign Says This Wikipedia User Is Not Pete. So Who Is It?". Slate. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Knowles, Hannah (December 24, 2019). "How the reporter who found Mitt Romney's secret Twitter has turned online sleuthing into a beat". Washington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  18. ^ Holmes, Juwan J. (December 22, 2019). "Internet ponders if Mayor Pete (or devoted friend) was behind his Wikipedia edits". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  19. ^ Vincent, James (December 23, 2019). "Go read this Slate report on presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's mysterious Wikipedia supporter". The Verge. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

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