Warner Bros. was recently caught spamming Reddit with promos for their upcoming action-thriller Getaway. It didn’t very long for the website to figure out who was responsible for the posts.
When it comes to people trying to game the system, Reddit doesn’t mess around. As soon as they discovered the studio was trying to get a little free publicity, the people working behind-the-scenes didn’t hesitate to call out the Hollywood behemoth.
Although Warner Bros. has a ton of money to promote and market the Selena Gomez and Ethan Hawke flick, they posted several phony comments about the movie in hopes of drumming up interest. Since these messages were a little suspicious, Reddit launched an investigation.
Volunteer r/movies moderator mi-16evil flagged the posts in question earlier this week. Once it was discovered that the studio was behind the scheme, Reddit moderators posted a lengthy message about the situation.
The number of posts from the accounts wasn’t the only thing that caught mi-16evil’s attention. According to the moderator, it was the “weird unbridaled enthusiasm” that suggested Warner Bros. may be behind the Getaway comments.
The website explained in a release:
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.
While folks at the studio are responsible for the spam, general manager Erik Martin said it doesn’t appear that Warner is doing this on a widespread basis. The promotional posts were likely the result of a few employees trying to spread the word about the flick.
“It’s important to prevent this type of activity, but it is also important that we not become overly cynical and assume everyone is a shill,” Martin added.
Warner Bros. recently took a moment to respond to these allegations. The studio wasn’t exactly thrilled with being accused of gaming the Reddit system.
“We absolutely do not do business that way as part of our film marketing. We are looking into this allegation as we take it very seriously,” the company said in a statement.
Reddit issued the following retraction:
After further investigation, we have found that neither Warner Bros. nor any of their employees was involved in this activity. To be perfectly clear, the posts that we detected came from a third party who had no affiliation with Warner Bros. This third party was not part of the marketing efforts of Warner Bros for the film. We regret confusion about the source of these posts, and appreciate the cooperation and understanding of Warner Bros. who has taken this as seriously as we do and has very strict policies on these matters.
Getaway hits theaters today (August 30).