It seems the media has been had with the revelation that the purported Emma Watson naked leak was nothing more than an elaborate hoax at the hands of an internet spamming group under the false name of Rantic Marketing.
Users had been redirected to a campaign website featuring a countdown timer and that of Emma Watson crying, presumably in trepidation of the upcoming leak this weekend moved up earlier to last midnight. Yet when midnight came and went, visitors were instead greeted with a picture of the 4chan logo with the hashtag #shutdown4chan.
What came next were a series of messages urging the shutdown of 4chan, courtesy of celebrity publicity firms (if only) who had hired the outlet to do its bidding.
Read a page: “DEAR BARACK OBAMA,
‘We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature — and will be step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org.’”
Adds another page: ‘SPREAD THE WORD!‘ Join us as we shutdown 4chan and prevent more private pictures from being leaked. None of these women deserve this and together we can make a change.’
A subsequent page would read: “EMMAYOUARENEXT.COM has reached over 48 Million Visitors, 7 Million Facebook Shares/Likes & 3 Million Twitter Mentions Worldwide.”
And then it dawned on visitors, it was all a marketing stunt. A hoax within a hoax, with the purported aim of outing a group, 4chan who tread the anonymous terrain of the web, by another entity who also inhabited their own dark untraceable void.
The dupe would be further corrobarated by a hollow twitter account belonging to fictional Rantic CEO, Brad Cockingham: ‘Dear humans, In the digital age we have a new kind of terror going on and it is called 4chan, Help us take down the terrorist group 4chan.’
Offered a pastebin user via reddit: ‘It seems the whole point of marketing these days is to sell lies to as many people as possible and this particular campaign appears to have done that very successfully.’
Perhaps in a rush to carry the next headline (and its own lies/bias) in the latest instalment of celebgate, media outlets would come to be duped, having relied on the here say of Fox Weekly (yes the irony is too palpable), itself a fake news site.
Tells businessinsider: In a now-deleted article, the site asks whether 4chan hackers are about to reveal naked photographs of the actress. Of course, the author of that article knew at the time that there weren’t any photographs, because they had also created the countdown site itself.
A reddit user would point out that ‘Rantic.com and emmayouarenext.com were hosted on the same server,’ adding:
‘They are connected to FoxWeekly, who were the first Website who broke the News about Emmayouarenext.’
The epochtimes would note that multiple news outlets reported on the website as if it were legitimate, including the Washington Post and BBC. Which naturally ought to raise questions of journalistic standards and the direction of the media as it stampedes from one breaking story to the other, something hardly lost on the spamming hackers who this time got one over the media.
Subsequent attempts to contact rantic would only be met with error messages, a freudian parable if there ever was one.
In the end one can’t help but marvel at the irony which saw one stunt embarrass and expose the media for being just as predatory and invasive as the hackers themselves at the hands of another nebulous dark clothed internet group….
Contemplated i09: Objectifying and threatening a person to show that it’s wrong to objectify and threaten a person has got to be the stupidest, foulest way to try to get your point across. It is obscene, it is inhumane, and it’s a blatant act of hypocrisy.
And then there was this summary via avclub that nailed it for me: So in summation: A group of viral “pranksters” used Emma Watson’s speech to manufacture a fake threat of retaliation, one that was meant to stoke outrage aimed at the sort of people who regularly victimize women on the Internet—all by actually victimizing a woman on the Internet. (But you know, in a “prankster” way.) This fake threat was then exposed by its supposed targets, who decried the mainstream media’s “willingness to ‘Listen and Believe’ the feminist victimization narrative,” thus exposing the reasons why that “narrative” exists in the first place. And in the end, the pretend debasement of Emma Watson—to raise awareness aboutdebasement, or something—ended up being actually, really debasing, as Watson’s speech was quickly swallowed up in this nesting doll of Internet ugliness.