Someone hijacked Reddit moderator accounts to promote Trump

Reddit moderator accounts appear to have been compromised.

Hackers appeared to take over a number of influential Reddit accounts Friday to post messages promoting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Some pages were plastered with “Make America Great Again” or “MAGA” logos, while others included messages about the president. The source of the attacks on the subreddit pages appeared to be moderator accounts, a Reddit spokesperson confirmed.

“An investigation is underway related to a series of vandalized communities,” the spokesperson said. “It appears the source of the attacks were compromised moderator accounts. We are working to lock down those accounts and restore impacted communities.”

Reddit moderators are often unpaid users who volunteer their time to maintain forums and discussions on the popular site.


A Reddit post lists the pages that have been affected, including discussion forums dedicated to outer space, the National Football League and “The Avengers.”

It was not immediately clear how the moderator accounts had been compromised or who could be behind the activity.

In June, Reddit banned “The_Donald,” a pro-Trump forum where users often shared misogynistic, homophobic, racist and conspiratorial content.

A number of foreign actors have interests in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. intelligence community has assessed. The Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Bill Evanina, for instance, said Friday that Russia “is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden.”

The Reddit incident is the latest example of an account takeover attack causing headaches at social media and tech companies in recent weeks. When prominent Twitter accounts were hijacked last month in an apparent bitcoin scam, Twitter said the employees were tricked through a phishing campaign.

Shannon Vavra

Written by Shannon Vavra

Shannon Vavra covers the NSA, Cyber Command, espionage, and cyber-operations for CyberScoop. She previously worked at Axios as a news reporter, covering breaking political news, foreign policy, and cybersecurity. She has appeared on live national television and radio to discuss her reporting, including on MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CBS, Al Jazeera, NPR, WTOP, as well as on podcasts including Motherboard’s CYBER and The CyberWire’s Caveat. Shannon hails from Chicago and received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.

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