So it’s official: the Emma You Are Next web site, which was threatening to release nude pictures of Harry Potter actress Emma Watson, is a hoax. The site now redirects traffic to the home page of something called Rantic, a mysterious supposed “social media marketing enterprise” with a reputation for hoaxes.
Rantic is now claiming that the real agenda behind its website was a noble one: to expose the evils of leaked celebrity nudes – and, by painting 4channers as the evil hackers behind it all, to get 4chan itself taken down.
And somehow, to do this, they had to threaten to release nude pics of Emma Watson? It’s like fighting death threats against women – by sending death threats to women. The idea that this is a feminist “false flag” — an idea already being floated in Men’s Rightsy circles — is plainly ridiculous. Rantic’s actions are about as unfeminist as its possible to get.
Indeed, it seems pretty clear that Rantic’s new site is as much of a hoax as its last one.
Rantic’s own, er, “explanation” for the Emma Watson site is a masterpiece of concentrated bullshit:
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.
Nothing about this makes any sense whatsoever. How do you protect celebrities from threats by threatening a celebrity? How do you use the Emma You Are Next hoax to get 4chan taken down … when everyone now knows that you, not anyone on 4chan, was behind the hoax?
Add to this a call for censorship that seems calculated to enrage the internet masses, and it’s hard not to conclude that Rantic is still playing the internet like a fiddle. For what aim I don’t know. Maybe, like some Men’s Rightsers we could mention, they figure that bad publicity – scratch that, catastrophic publicity – is better than none.
That’s more or less what Business Insider has concluded. In a piece published this morning, BI’s James Cook writes
Rantic Marketing doesn’t exist. This wasn’t a marketing stunt at all, but a social experiment run by the most notorious gang of pranksters on the internet. …
Rantic Marketing is a fake company run by a gang of prolific internet spammers used to quickly capitalize on internet trends for page views. The group go by a variety of different names. Collectively, they’re known as SocialVEVO … The only known video footage of the group is a rap song about pickles that they used dubious spam techniques to make incredibly popular. The song used to have over 8 million views on YouTube.
As for that supposed plan to shut down 4chan? It’s only served to rally 4chan’s defenders.
In any case, the best way to fight celebrity leaks isn’t to shutter 4chan. It’s to find and prosecute those who’ve hacked celebrity nudes (including photos of several young women who were underage when the photos were taken) – and those who’ve knowingly spread them around the internet.
It may be hard to find the original hackers, but it’s certainly not hard to find those who distributed the nudes. Hint: Look at Reddit. Hundreds of thousands of Redditors were involved in what became known as TheFappening, and Reddit itself apparently profited handsomely from the attention and traffic.
Though the original TheFappening subreddit was belatedly shut down, leaked celebrity nudes are still being distributed openly on Reddit. This is criminal activity. Enforce the laws.
And Rantic, whatever your game is — just. fucking. stop.