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If the headline seems oblique, it's because the story is a onion-layered mess of hoaxes playing the blame game, and reporters being all too willing to spread incorrect information in the hopes of getting the fabled first Google news hit scoop traffic. That traffic is golden.
Rantic Marketing are the ones who are behind the "4chan countdown to the leaked Emma Watson photographs" that every news outlet and Gawker too, reported on yesterday. Notably the headline on Death And Taxes (Whose choice of ad partner shows how high the quality of their journalism is) reads: 4chan threatens Emma Watson with Nude Photo Leak Over Speech About Gender equality, because remember kids, 4chan users are all men who hate women so this must be their motivation, obviously. If it sounds familiar read #Gamergate again as it carries the same narrative.
Now, however, Business Insider has reported that The Emma Watson Naked Photo Countdown Was The Work Of Serial Internet Hoaxers, the Independant have joined in explaining that Emma Watson 'nude photo leak' was a hoax of a hoax, and the Dailydot have done their best to lllustrate with screencaps etc the history of the hoaxers.
Before we follow them down the rabbit-hole, lets be perfectly clear what 4chan is. It's a bulletinboard, where lots of people post random shit at all times.
The Fine Young Capitalists explain very well what 4chan is, and isn't, in a tumblr-post answering a question directed at them, after it became known that the $62,000 raised for their "Women making Video Games For Charity" Indiegogo project was raised with a lot of support (and money) from 4chan. Let TFYC first tell you how 4chan actually works:
In real world terms 4chan is a very large corkboard, with a free copier next to it. People will use the photocopier to make posters, and then put in on the corkboard. If a poster is popular people will make a copy of the poster and add to it attaching it to the “original post”. If it’s not popular people will just place their new poster over the old.
So anyone could post stuff on this board and hope that someone copies it. Or not. There's thousands of places like this out there. IMGUR, Reddit and many more places are used in a similar way to get viral spread. You all should know how this works, especially the folks who work in the social media department or for any agency with "viral" in their company motto. Go ask them even if they're busy making Tumblr-gifs.
TFYC go on:
So why do we accept money from 4chan? Because they had nothing to do with the hacking scandal except being a corkboard for the hacker to hang his pictures.
Similarily, 4chan had nothing to do with the Emma Watson hoax. Lets quote Dailydot:
None of these stories provide any proof that /b/ was actually behind this. Not one screengrab from /b/ discussing the prank is included. The only thing these organizations cite as proof of the imageboard users’ involvement is the 4chan logo featured on the countdown site.
Any anyone could take the logo of 4chan and slap it somewhere else. Ask your art director how it's done.
The DailyDot continue down the rabbit hole and find a tenuous but likely connection from Rantic Marketing to SocialVevo, a group that thrives in the Hoax economy making money of the traffic they pull.
A small group of Internet marketers, SocialVevo (also known as Swenzy) capitalizes off of trending topics and major news events by manipulating social media and creating prank websites that it uses to sell YouTube views, Facebook likes, and Twitter followers.
So are there any nudes of Emma Watson? Only Emma knows. Why did this happen now? Obviously because Emma is incredibly popular, half the planet has nursed a crush on her growing up and both the hacked celebrity nudes and her UN speech are currently headline fodder. If you want traffic, you hijack what everyone is already talking about, but with a twist. Are SocialVevo like the yes men? Only in the sense that they hoax people and rely on it to spread virally.
Riding the wave of viral traffic to earn a living off ads and selling social views/spread, heh. I should have thought of that instead of trying to write accurate articles. Seems everyone is playing this game now, with blogger/journalists spitting out poorly researched and totally unverified articles in a race against the clock, and the internet just gets more nudity and OUTRAGE for it. Similarly, all the scam ads seem to have either nudity or Hitler in them, sometimes both.
The ads though, it's the ads that get me, like the ones seen here:
— Tom Megginson (@CreativeTweets) September 22, 2014
So why do we have a culture where articles are churned out like Buzzfeed's and poisoning the well, aiming for maximum clicks, Upworthy sharing, and to be on top of the Google News algorithm that scans what has been published first, rather than what is correct? In a web intertwined with ads bought by impressions made and robotic clicks given, and a search engine that relies on speed rather than accuracy, do I really need to explain advertisings role in all of this... again? It's is all propelled by you dear knee-jerk retweeter and facebook-outrage person. Because you don't slow down to read, you'll take the bite-sized article and gobble up the obvious slant as long as you like the flavour it has been delivered in.
What should have gotten all of the attention is Emma's speech to the UN. It has now forever been drowned out by bizarre accusations against 4chan and a really dumb hoax that made someone somewhere some money. The wrong thing is being ignored in all of this.