Did CNN Identify The Wrong Person?

Posted: Jul 06, 2017 12:40 PM

In its quest to identify the creator of a video tweeted out by President Trump, CNN may have identified (and slightly threatened) the wrong person. 

First things first: there's a difference between a gif and a video. President Trump tweeted a video of himself beating up "CNN" during a WWE match. Videos have sound and do not loop. Gifs do not have sound, and loop.

This is a tweet of a video--note the sound and scrubber bar to fast-forward the video: 

This is a tweet of a gif--with no sound: 

The person who was identified by CNN as the creator of the image, a Reddit user that went by the name "HanAssholeSolo," posted a gif on the popular, pro-Trump subreddit r/The_Donald. As described by BuzzFeed, the original gif posted on Reddit is quite different from the video Trump tweeted. The aspect ratio, colors, and logos are not the same, meaning someone else further edited the gif, turned it into a video, and added back in sound and a "Fake News Network" logo. It's not the same thing posted by the Reddit user.

Still, that didn't stop CNN from effectively blackmailing the Redditor into behaving. In an article about the discovery of the Redditor's identity that was published on CNN on Tuesday, it was made very clear that while the network was not going to publish the user's full identity, they "reserved the right" to do so if he reneged on his promises to not make any more memes. In a statement on Wednesday, CNN denied that there was ever a "deal" in place for anonymity. The Reddit account has since been deleted. 

Further, does it matter who made the gif or video? Nobody knows how it wound up on Trump's cell phone anyhow, and nothing in the video was illegal. No laws were broken. Sure, it's not exactly becoming of the presidency to tweet a video of oneself beating up a news network, but again, this isn't illegal.

Thank goodness the user was never actually fully identified, considering he didn't actually make the thing tweeted by Trump. Even if he did, it's not like he knew that Trump would decide to tweet it, and again, this isn't something that merits a doxxing.