Update: Read this story for the latest on the controversy.
Reddit, the news aggregation site, does not take kindly on anyone trying to game its system and has issued a stern warning to studios and content creators. The site recently called foul when Warner Bros. employees took to Reddit to promote the studio’s upcoming movie “Getaway,” starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez.
The moderator of the r/movies Reddit, mi-16evil spotted the questionable posts early this week after he was tipped off by users who spotted something sneaky going on.
The web site explained:
We take spamming, cheating, vote-rigging, and any other manipulation of reddit
very seriously. We have always promised you that if we catch companies
trying to game reddit we will call them out and let you know. The most
common type of spamming/gaming/vote manipulation on reddit is by
publishers who are attempting to increase traffic to their domain. We
are able to ban domains and make the reason public in the ban message.
In the case of a movie studio or other company attempting to game
reddit, we don’t have a similar automatic way of alerting users, so I am
coming here today to let you know about a transparency issue with a
studio that we have already taken care of.
A couple days ago your wonderful and vigilant /r/movies
mods alerted us to some suspicious postings and comments related to the
movie Getaway. We investigate all reports like this and after looking
at these posts we were able to determine that this activity did indeed
come from Warner Brothers employees, the studio for the film. The posts
and comments were essentially ineffective and were actually all heavily
downvoted. All accounts involved have been banned and we have spoken
with Warner Brothers and let them know this is unacceptable. This
appears to be just a few employees and not some company wide or
systematic thing. We checked other posts about this movie and there are
plenty of posts that are 100% organic and have no signs of manipulation.
If you work at a studio or other content creator please make sure you are familiar with our rules and our guidelines on self-promotion. If you want to promote your awesome works on reddit, buy an ad, don’t try to interfere with organic activity.
Reddit users were not easily duped. “The posts and comments were essentially ineffective and were actually
all heavily downvoted,” general manager Erik Martin wrote in an r/movies post
Wednesday evening. “All accounts involved have been banned and we have
spoken with Warner Brothers and let them know this is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, If all of this controversy has made you curious about the movie, you can check out the trailer below: