Emma You Are Next

In late September, actress Emma Watson gave a speech at the UN advocating gender equality. Soon after, a website ominously named EmmaYouAreNext.com appeared online. The site simply showed a countdown clock, a picture of Emma Watson wiping away a tear, and the logo of 4chan, a website popular in the hacker community whose members had recently released a collection of hundreds of private pictures of celebrities, illegally obtained. The implication was clear. Private pictures of Watson would soon be released as well. Media around the world, incuding the BBC, Washington Post, and NBC, reported on the site, and generally assumed that 4chan was behind the threat, since, after all, the 4chan logo appeared on the site. But when the countdown clock reached zero, instead of photos being released, the site redirected to Rantic, an internet marketing firm. Rantic claimed that it created the site as a kind of public-service campaign to help gain support for shutting down sites such as 4chan, thereby preventing more private pictures from being leaked. But skeptics note that the hoax served the double purpose of raising awareness about Rantic itself and its viral marketing services.

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