Can a child pornographer last longer at Free Republic than a Giuliani supporter?

At the ultra-patriotic Free Republic site, smut peddlers might be more comfortable than moderate Republicans


Alex Pareene
May 12, 2010 8:30PM (UTC)

Ultra-conservative news site and Web forum Free Republic has been a barely moderated cesspool of the nuttiest right-wingers on the Internet since 1996. Freepers basically have carte blanche to say whatever they like -- as long as they love guns and hate gays. Really, the only way to get banned from FreeRepublic is to announce your support for Rudy Giuliani. One thing that apparently won't result in a ban: using the site solely to boost Web ranking for your child porn site.

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Here's the profile page for Free Republic user "Preteen Lolita." Preteen's been a Freeper since Dec. 28, 2009 -- 4 ½ months of using FreeRepublic.com's page rank to advertise underage pornography without anyone noticing.







The link (don't click on it) is obscured via a free Swiss URL shortening service. I can't personally confirm, but I'm told the link redirects to a site that features what appears to be real-life child porn. When you search Google for referrals to the site the link redirects to Google informs you that a link has been deleted due to a child pornography complaint. (Referrals to the redirect link all advertise underage pornography.)

Now FreeRepublic.com is not hosting or even "condoning" child pornography. It's just that it's so ridiculously easy to set up a profile and get your own FreeRepublic page that apparently anyone can and will do it. Theoretically, someone could do this at Kos or OpenSalon. (But, as far as we know, no one has.)

Really, it's just funny that a site that was created for the purpose of hounding Bill Clinton for his moral failings, a site that represents the fire-breathing anti-gay, antiabortion morality police, a site so doctrinaire in its vision of conservativism that hundreds of users have been banned for supporting Giuliani and even Mitt Romney, is also considered by a filthy smut merchant to be the perfect place to peddle his wares.

Free Republic appears to delete profiles started for spamming purposes (unless user "freehoodia" was "banned or suspended" for some other reason, like supporting TARP), so, again, all we're accusing it of is being somewhat lax in its moderation of the user registration process.

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In order to see how lax, we started a few Freeper accounts with incredibly suspect names and dummy e-mail accounts. Here's one of them. And another. And if you can find more Freeper profiles that seem to exist solely for untoward purposes, let us know; they ought to know how widespread the problem is.

This is far from the first time that an unsuspecting pervert stumbled upon the site that holds itself responsible for policing the morality of country music artists. Free Republic used to make its referral logs public. And you can see that over the years, hundreds of people have stumbled upon the Internet's most patriotic Web forum by searching for things like "kids sex," "boy sex," and "naked children."

Again, every site's referral logs hold weird secrets about the proclivities of Web users. It's just funny when Free Republic is the site in question. One can only imagine the glee with which Freepers would greet news that some scumbag was using Salon's servers to market smut. So let's try to be liberal and understanding, and offer our deepest sympathies as it takes care of its porn problem.

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Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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