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Articles on this Page
- 04/24/13--23:00: _Anonymous is target...
- 04/24/13--20:25: _Dear Hyundai: Don't...
- 04/25/13--03:05: _Shocking new video ...
- 04/25/13--04:03: _Wikipedia's list of...
- 04/25/13--04:34: _Online bullies of R...
- 04/25/13--06:57: _Why Iranians might ...
- 04/26/13--08:43: _This is the average...
- 04/26/13--10:13: _How to rescue your ...
- 04/26/13--11:30: _The Internet is thr...
- 04/26/13--11:58: _What senior citizen...
- 04/26/13--15:50: _Student builds Kick...
- 04/29/13--07:00: _Triggering the Copy...
- 04/29/13--09:24: _How did this teen g...
- 04/29/13--13:02: _Can these 2 apps re...
- 04/29/13--15:12: _How to romance Mart...
- 04/30/13--07:31: _The TMZ sex questio...
- 04/30/13--09:55: _Twitter's anti-hack...
- 04/30/13--12:40: _Family of young man...
- 04/30/13--12:50: _Watch the first car...
- 04/30/13--13:19: _You're going to wat...
- 04/24/13--23:00: Anonymous is targeting every pedophile hub on the Web
- 04/24/13--20:25: Dear Hyundai: Don't use suicide to sell cars
- 04/25/13--03:05: Shocking new video game makes fun of Boston bombing
- 04/25/13--04:03: Wikipedia's list of American novelists leaves women out to dry
- 04/25/13--04:34: Online bullies of Rehtaeh Parsons exposed
- 04/25/13--06:57: Why Iranians might actually use the censored "halal Internet"
Blocking VPN networks, Tor networks, and other anonymous browsing methods
Migrated blocks (blocking certain material for short periods of time in various areas)
Limiting the amount of encrypted traffic
- 04/26/13--08:43: This is the average Facebook user's life, according to big data
- 04/26/13--10:13: How to rescue your Posterous blog before it's too late
- 04/26/13--11:58: What senior citizens think about gay sex
- 04/26/13--15:50: Student builds Kickstarter resume, with a life-changing deadline
- 04/29/13--09:24: How did this teen girl's private photos get shared with a stranger?
- 04/29/13--13:02: Can these 2 apps really protect your reputation on Twitter?
- 04/29/13--15:12: How to romance Martha Stewart online
- 04/30/13--07:31: The TMZ sex question that caused Kevin Ware to quit Twitter
- 04/30/13--09:55: Twitter's anti-hack advice: Buy a second computer
- 04/30/13--12:40: Family of young man with Down syndrome sues for $18M over cruel meme
- 04/30/13--12:50: Watch the first cartoon about men's rights activists
- 04/30/13--13:19: You're going to watch porn anyway—do it for a good cause
In corners of the Internet that will make you ill, pedophiles wait to receive an onslaught of attacks.
It's Alice Day, a public "pedophile pride" day inspired by the relationship between the author Lewis Carroll and his young muse, Alice Liddell, for whom Alice in Wonderland was written. April 25 is supposedly the day in 1856 that Carroll met 4-year-old Alice, sparking a lifelong infatuation.
In one pedophile's own words, republished on a predator watchdog site, April 25 is a day to "rejoice in the gift of girllove and affirm the ideal so aptly typified by this special relationship." In 2013, it's also the day the hacker group Anonymous plans to bombard a long list of online targets with DDoS attacks, leaking suspects' personal information and defacing their websites.
Anonymous began on the troll hub 4chan as a moral-free prank squad; it's since evolved into an amorphous group of vigilante justice crusaders. Determined the town of Steubenville, Ohio, was attempting to cover up rape allegations against two high school football stars, the hacktivists campaigned on Twitter and Facebook and brought the town into the public eye. The group has also led doxxing efforts against kitten-tormenting teens and the suspected blackmailer behind Canadian teen Amanda Todd's suicide.
I spoke briefly with one organizer of the event, which took the hashtag #OpAliceDay on Twitter. He told me it was business as usual—doxxing, defacing, "and having a little fun along the way." The campaign has hundreds of followers on Twitter, many of whom changed their names to #OpAliceDay in support.
April is child abuse awareness month. It's also "the month in which child rapists/molesters/'lovers' reserve for their special 'it's okay to sexually assault children' day," warns a 2010 article on Yahoo! Voices with the headline "WATCH YOUR CHILDREN." "Pink is NOT the color you want to dress your girls in either. Pink is their attraction."
On numerous unnameable forums, where adult men chat publicly about their love and affection for young girls and boys, users post about how they plan to celebrate Alice Day—often by wearing pink and spending time in parks to "LG (little girl) watch." Some might hand out pamphlets about CL, or "childlove," in an attempt to decrease stigma against and raise awareness of what to them is a significant social movement: pedophile pride.
These men claim they would never physically abuse or rape a child; it would be anathema to the childlove philosophy. They want to cuddle, kiss, hold, and otherwise express their affection for children—and if they can't in person, they'll do it from a distance, emboldened by Alice Day.
"I guess I will be doing what I do everyday, just hangout with friends and maybe if it's nice out, skateboard a bit etc," a man named FreeThinkerGL wrote in 2009. The quote was picked up from a pedophile hub by a watch blog called Lindsay Ashford. "I don't have a LGF so I won't be spending anytime with little girls or boys."
Another user named lall wrote:
I think the t-shirt thing is just to wear any kind of a pink shirt on Alice Day. That way if any asks if you're a pedo, you can claim you have no idea what they're talking about...and how dare they insinuate such a thing! lol.
silentmist followed suit:
I will be spending the day at a local market filled with beautiful LG's. Kinda boring, but I will at least be wearing a pink t-shirt. I doubt anyone will catch on, but you never know ;-)
And another, Aladdin Truelove, claims to have coined the term 15 years ago:
I am the one who suggested the name "Alice Day," way back on Ianthe's email list, in 1998. Feels good to be back in the land of the living!
These quotes are all three or four years old now, but the philosophy on these public forums is still ongoing and no less disturbing. Recently, followers of those pedophile hubs have taken their Alice Day preparation offline. On one forum Anonymous pointed me to, the only apparent threads about April 25, barely noticeable in conversations about watching children (possibly their own children) sleep and nudity-filled European '70s flicks, warn against the march of Anonymous.
"I think the admin are aware of this," the subject of one thread reads. The follow-up comment—by a user whose signature image is a drawing of a little girl in a dress, blowing bubbles in a field—sounds scornful:
It's very ironic how they [Anonymous] claim to be all for freedom of expression on the internet, and, not just do they attack on us pedophiles (how's that being for freedom of expression, euh)? but in general, all the attacks they conduct, ARE a form of censorship. So, let me get this straight: you defend freedom of expression by conducting acts of censorship? In French we would say that's like fucking for virginity.
On a popular man-boy love blog, a user named Kristofor warns against a "Possible retrogressive Anonymous loris."
"They could be patching their servers," shrugged the Anonymous source when I mentioned it.
Whatever these sites do in defense, they won't stand a chance.
Anonymous released its full list of targets Wednesday evening. The hackers have a system, explained in a Pastebin doc:
Each website got a Number. @ReportApedo will tweet when to go pew pew on a certain website using its number to identify it. Feel free to deface, dos/DDos, hack these websites whenever you want to. But when firing we need everyone to fire at the same target at the same time. Additional targets might be added and everybody will be notified. We will start attack right at 01:00:00 p.m. Thursday April 25, 2013 in GMT. … The Op will continue all day and we will be posting our old d0xes on pedos in addition to TangoDowns and Defaces. Our primary goal is to take target #1 down and we won't stop firing until it is down.
Target No. 1 is a Russian-hosted imageboard filled with password-protected albums such as "boy Self pics" and "girls in the bathroom." Target No. 2 is a "free bookmarking & blogging platform" with "sex" in the URL. Target No. 3 is a popular porn-streaming site with the tagline "where anything legal stays" and the unfortunate reputation for lax security measures against user-submitted underage content. (In talking to the Anonymous source, this is the one he seemed most excited about taking down.) Another is a North American Man-Boy Love Association page. Other sites on the list include nauseating URLs with variations of "teen," "junior," "models," "9 to 12," and "jailbait."
We'll update you as the online carnage unfurls. But Anonymous is quick to remind witnesses that behind the fun, though, the exposure is meant to deliver a message to anyone in the position to protect a child on Alice Day. Anonymous's recruitment video for #OpAliceDay closes with this line of warning: "Watch your children and be extra vigilant. … April 25 is like Christmas to them."
Screengrab via YouTube
Hyundai introduced a new ad to hype up its new car, the iX35, and its 100 percent water emissions.
The clip is a weird one. Stretching just one minute, it starts with a shot of a house before a cut into the building's garage. A Hyundai iX35 sits inside. It's calm. It's quiet. There's a man inside who's duct-taped all potential air vents shut.
A man of about 50 sits inside the Hyundai and leans his head back into a pensive pose. He turns to see the car's emissions running out of a tarred-up pipe opening, a surefire sign that the man in the car is trying to kill himself. He leans back. He lifts his head up. He waits. Then you see him walk out of the garage.
The purpose of the ad—and it's not abundantly clear, since the scene is at once jarring and legitimate—is that the iX35's new water emissions system is one of the healthiest emissions systems installed into cars across the planet. It's so clean you can't kill yourself with it.
The ad's received a groundswell of attention online for all the wrong reasons.
On YouTube, where the most popular iteration of the clip has been seen more than 7,000 times, the clip has been the subject of a series of postings in scorn, many of which have chastised the company for its nonexistent taste.
"This commercial is disgusting and undermines anyone going through legitimate suffering in order to make money," one YouTuber wrote yesterday, in a post that's received more than 20 likes.
"As someone who works in advertising, I hope I'm never involved in anything as as tasteless as this."
The conversation's also extended onto Twitter, where people have lambasted the company for creating such a boorish video "making light of people contemplating suicide."
"Shows what a caring firm you are," one Norwich native wrote. "Well done."
Nowhere is the criticism sharper than on a blog post belonging to London's Holly Brockwell, however. The open letter, composed by the advertising copywriter on Thursday, targets both the auto manufacturer and its advertising agency, Innocean, explaining that she's the daughter of a man who killed himself by strapping himself into the driver's seat and letting his car run for a while in a confined space, and that the ad, and its underlying message that this is a car you cannot use to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, did nothing for her but make her miss her father.
Brockwell's worked on automotive accounts before, so she knows to some degree what makes a car ad work. "Strangely," she wrote, "not once did it seem that the best way—the most intelligent way, the most creative way—to advertise their products to people was to remind them of the horrendous even that is suicide. … I can think of a thousand more interesting, creative ideas that wouldn't have left me feeling like I've just lost my dad all over again."
Hyundai U.K. hasn't publicly responded to the criticism, but what's been posted to its Facebook account doesn't help their case. On Wednesday, the most recent post onsite, a link to an article on iVillage: "Hyundai iX35 takes the busy mum test."
Oof. No bueno.
Update: Hyundai removed the "Pipe Job" advertisement from YouTube shortly after 4pm Eastern Time. The company wrote on Facebook: "Hyundai understands that the video has caused offence. We apologise unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing."
Photo via SuperCommercialAds/YouTube
First 4chan made a Doom-inspired video game of LAPD officer turned murderer Chris Dorner's final moments. Now, for the second time in two months, another national tragedy has been mocked through a crudely produced video game.
The new pixelated side scroller called Boston Marathon 2013: Terror on the Streets is exactly what its name suggests, a game inspired by the horrific Boston Marathon bombings that claimed the lives of three people and injured more than 260 others on April 15.
In the game you play as a marathon runner who must jump over moving pressure cooker bombs. In the background you can see other injured civilians, bloodied sidewalks, and Boston businesses named "Boston Chowda Inc." and "MC jackoffs." As your character runs through the streets, facts about the marathon and about Boston in general (like the New England Patriots losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII) scroll underneath.
According to a poll on TV personality Greta Van Susteren's website, 75 percent of people believe these type of games should not be created. This sentiment was also shared by Nina Huntemann, co-editor of Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games.
"It does speak to a minority of Internet culture that seems to have no filter, no moral line that they won't cross," Huntemann told Yahoo. "It's not enjoyable, and it's not engaging. It will disappear and, hopefully, be forgotten."
In February, one 4chan user created Chris Dorner Last Stand, a racist game in which users could play as Dorner as he fought off police from a cabin in the woods. Like Boston Marathon 2013: Terror on the Streets, Chris Dorner Last Stand mocked the situation by having songs like "N***a N***a N***a" by Gangsta Rap playing in the background.
Images from Boston Marathon 2013: Terror on the Streets
Novelist Amanda Fillpacchi recently discovered that Wikipedians were cutting women out of the site's list of American novelists, sequestering them into a separate category for "American women novelists." There was no "American men novelists" category. Men, by default, were American novelists; women were not.
This is why Wikipedia's huge gender imbalance matters.
"The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men," Fillpacchi wrote. "The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible."
Since Fillpacchi's op-ed was published Tuesday in the New York Times, Wikipedians have rushed to fix the problems. But at the time she wrote it, Fillpacchi noticed some very big names shorn from the list, including Harper Lee, Amy Tan, and Anne Rice. Fillpacchi continued:
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ayn Rand, Ann Beattie, Djuna Barnes, Emily Barton, Jennifer Belle, Aimee Bender, Amy Bloom, Judy Blume, Alice Adams, Louisa May Alcott, V. C. Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark — and, upsetting to me: myself.
All told, more than 300 women novelists had been segregated to their own little Wikipedia list ghetto. The only women remaining were those whose last names began with letters a little farther down in the alphabet, giving credence to the idea that this was a systematic process.
Presumably, if any female editor had stumbled across the list, she might have noticed the problem, but Wikipedia has very few female editors. Only 10 percent of the site's editors are women. The gender gap affects Wikipedia in cuontless ways. There is, for instance, a voluminous article on nearly every distribution of the operating system Linux, but Wikipedians deleted an article on Kate Middleton's wedding dress, declaring it not notable enough for an encyclopedia with 4 million entries. Fillpacchi's discovery is probably the most glaring example of how Wikipedia's gender balance has serious consequences.
"It’s probably small, easily fixable things like this that make it harder and slower for women to gain equality in the literary world," Filipacchi wrote.
On the Talk page, one Wikipedian accused Filipacchi of cherry picking. Many of the authors listed, he noted, belonged to a dozen other categories: "This appears to be a simple case of false dichotomy," Wikipedian Noren wrote. "An author can be added to or subtracted from each these categories entirely independently, but that op-ed makes it sound as if a given author is in just one category and the author's entire article was demoted because it was added to the category 'American women novelists.'"
He continued: "If I wanted to make the argument that Wikipedia discriminated against male Science Fiction authors I could cherry pick a bunch who aren't included in this category."
One half of the human race—and male science fiction writers. No sexism here, folks.
To their credit, others have been quick to admit the status-quo is not acceptable. Many of the literary giants that Fillpacchi noticed were excluded from the main list have returned. And Wikipedians have, at long last, created an American men novelists category, though, so far, it has only two entries.
Photo by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara/Flickr
When gang-rape victim Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself April 5, she saw nothing ahead for herself but a future of accumulating pain. She could never have imagined that her death would unite friends and supporters with an international force of hacktivists and anti-bully activists.
Nor could she have imagined that this alliance, under the Twitter-organized OpJustice4Rehtaeh, would successfully push the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to reopen the investigation of her assault two years ago. Nor that the Halifax Regional Police would open an internal investigation to the negligent way the case was handled, why a yearlong investigation with photo evidence closed without a single charge. Nor that her mother, Leah Parsons, would meet Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, to create a Crime Victim's Bill of Rights.
When a girl ends her life after two years of slut-shaming and harassment, including watching photos of her attack spread around Facebook and her high school, people don't forget so easily. And of course, there's backlash. Fed up with the abuse that continues on and offline against a dead rape victim and her family, hacker collective Anonymous decided the law wasn't working fast enough. It released the identities of 19 people speaking ill against Parsons online.
Previously, the team had withheld the names at the request of Leah Parsons until after the funeral. These screenshots contain blurred-out names of the alleged attackers.
Rehtaeh's story is well documented in the media. Rehtaeh Parsons was raped by four boys at a party. Then the slut-shaming, bullying and mental health challenges that are so often experienced by the victims of sexual assault followed her for more than 17 months leading to her eventual suicide. Her mother was forced to make the painful decision to remove her from life support, thus saving four others' lives. Rehtaeh's former school, Cole Harbour District Highschool, did not support or even acknowledge her when she needed them the most. This is unacceptable. We seek to illustrate that the bullying of Rehtaeh in her immediate community continues on, even after her death. We are highlighting the actions, both off and online, of 19 individuals in Rehtaeh's broader community.
The dox continues for nearly 5,000 words, exhaustively quoting the "Speak the Truth" Facebook group, which was deactivated on April 15 after multiple complaints from, among others, Rehtaeh's father. The group was a gathering place for those who supported the boys rather than Rehtaeh. The tone can be expressed with a few quotes:
Oh my I dun think this shits ever gunna end nothings gunna happen this time just like before no eveidence n people keep talkin bout chargeing them for child porn well fuck gotta charge a whole bunch of people every single person that got the pic I guess all them gotta b charged aswell OH MY! And y is this anonymous group involed with this one n not any other of the suicides or rapes that have happend in the last 2yrs"
Skr8 this wom didint get raped called it rap when everyone found out about I got the boys 100% if this gose to court Ill be there to fuck it up"
And a different perspective:
At some point the RCMP reached out to the group defending Parsons's alleged rapists, prompting admin Latisha Brimicombe to deactivate it. Why? Funny you asked. "Sorry guys but I'm taking down the support group because the police have asked me that it be removed due to the fact this is cause names to get leaked out and spread around," she said.
That's right: the group designed to support the boys had been responsible for leaking the name of one of the accused. On April 15, the group was deactivated, but not before organizing a counterprotest and postering in real life, in the fashion of the Westboro Baptist Church, setting up across the street from a pro-Rehtaeh demonstration and sticking posters in front of the Parsons house.
Anonymous knows who the suspects are, but it's staying silent out of respect or Leah Parsons's wish that the boys not be publicly named.
A source spoke to the Daily Dot on condition of (extra) anonymity. "I can assure you we had the names of the alleged rapists within hours of the story going live," he said:
Unfortunately a few short-sighted Anons have rushed to release names (almost every dox I've seen has incorrect names). What we don't want to do is just drop names and start a witch hunt. This has never been about solely highlighting the alleged abusers. It's about highlighting the facts of that night. The crime itself. We are in essence doing what the RCMP should have done themselves, investigate the circumstance thoroughly.
He told us that while the names of the boys themselves took no more than two hours, finding the actual proof, in terms of incriminating posts, messages, and photos, took a team of several people less than a week. This, of course, brings into question what the RCMP, with their greater (legal) resources, have in terms of evidence.
"The RCMP are playing deaf and dumb with informing the public of the information they have in the case," our source continued. "Nobody expects them to shout from the rooftops. But they haven't come out and said the reasoning for dropping the case originally. When we're completely happy with our efforts the information will go to the people we believe can make the difference in the case. Depending on the direction the RCMP are going it could very well be them. If not, well I'm sure there's plenty of other people who believe in the importance of bringing justice to a young bullycide victim."
"The ball's in your court, RCMP," he added. "Try not to drop it this time."
Screenshots via AnonPaste.me. Images via DarksideBarones/Twitter
A lot of accounts have been written about Iran’s “halal Internet,” a closed national Web “purified” of pornography, blasphemy and political dissent, since before it launched late last year.
But, according to a report by Small Media (PDF) on Iran’s filtering regime, this closed system is only the most visible part of the country’s strategy for strangling the free flow of information.
No country can simply block its citizens’ access to the Internet with the flick of a switch, unless, as happened during the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and Libya, you’re willing to shut off the Internet entirely. So what do you do? You unite social, legal and technical means to make accessing forbidden materials too much trouble. That’s what Iran is doing, in what The Verge termed “a cut-rate version of China’s Great Firewall.”
Among the measures Iran is using to subtly force Iranians to migrate to the Halal Internet:
And on top of that, it doesn’t offer popular services like Google and Skype. But Iran may not need them to encourage people to use its private, censored Internet.
"Why would you go to YouTube.com, which is slow, it's filtered, it's not in Persian, when you can go to YouTube.ir which is fast and has pirated content?” asked Collin Anderson, one of the report’s collaborators. “You'll never see a video of Neda getting shot, but how often are you going to look at that? And it's illegal anyway."
In other words, if Iran can make it more expensive, in terms of time, trouble, social opprobrium and legality, to access the wider Internet, then Iran’s national Internet has a real chance of taking root and defining the Web for a generation of Iranians.
However, given the stubbornness, technical chops, and creativity of the country’s young people, it is far from a foregone conclusion.
What's the marital status of your average Facebook user? Mathematician Stephen Wolfram can tell you.
On Wednesday, Wolfram released a massive report on his personal blog titled "Data Science of the Facebook World" that shines a light at how many friends a typical person has, the average age of their friends, and, yes, even how many of them are single or married.
Wolfram gathered this data from more than one million Facebook subscribers who signed up for Wolfram Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook, a tool that takes a person's facts on the social network to create personalized reports. He then parsed this information to create a series of very revelatory graphs.
"I've always been interested in people and the trajectories of their lives," Wolfram writes. "But I've never been able to combine that with my interest in science. Until now."
The mathematician found that people have an average of 342 of friends on Facebook. This figure varies depending on the user's age, nothing that the number "peaks for people in their late teenage years, and then declines thereafter."
"Why is this?" he asks. "I suspect it's partly a reflection of people's intrinsic behavior, and partly a reflection of the fact that Facebook hasn't yet been around for very long."
Wolfram noted that Facebook users in their teens, 20s, and 30s tend to be friends with people of their own age. After 35, the age distribution is spread out across the spectrum.
Someone in their 70s, for example, will have much younger friends. This isn't particularly surprise when you take into consideration that septuagenarians are likely to stay in touch with their grandchildren on the social network.
The report also shows that as Facebook members hit their late 20s, more than half of them change their relationship status from "single" to "in a relationship," "engaged," or "married," a frightening thought for any quarterlifer being pressured by his or her mom to settle down. Even scarier is the fact that Wolfram compared his data with that collected by the latest United States Census and found that the two were nearly identical.
Image via Stephen Wolfram
And then there's all that geographical information. By comparing users’ hometowns to their current cities, Wolfram was able to confirm what should be a universal fact by now: everyone's moving to California and New York.
So, what did we learn? That as a 27-year-old single person living in Texas, I'm apparently doing it all wrong.
Photo via Anthony van Dyck/Flickr
Posterous, the blogging platform that was once hyped as Tumblr’s biggest competitor, is shutting down on April 30, but it's not too late to save all your posts.
Eleven months after Posterous was acquired by Twitter, its CEO Sachin Agarwal revealed it was closing its doors so the team could work on its parent company's services. Posterous gained popularity as an easy way to blog; you could post simply by sending an email. The last time Posterous made its stats public, back in 2011, it had more than 12 million users.
When Posterous closes, posts will no longer be visible or editable. It's more than just text posts that will disappear. Photos will vaporize. Videos will vanish. Podcasts will dissipate.
Unless you act quickly, the only way to view your posts will be via Archive Team, a group of volunteers racing to archive all public Posterous posts. Assuming, that is, that volunteers will be able to grab all the data in time.
Thankfully, you can raid your own blogs (or "spaces" as Posterous started calling them) to take your posts to WordPress, Squarespace, Tumblr, or Blogger.
Depending on which platform you’re moving to, you may need to grab a backup of your posts (which is a good idea no matter the method you're using). Go to the Backup page after you've logged into Posterous and hit the Request Backup button. You'll get an email once a .ZIP file of your backup is ready to download. The .XML file in the zipped archive is what you’ll need.
Moving to Tumblr
Importing your Posterous account to your Tumblr is easy. A service called Justmigrate will take care of it.
After you've input your Posterous URL and email address, Justmigrate will ask if you want to allow it to access your Tumblr account. It will then ask you which of your Tumblr blogs you'd like to export your posts to. If you have fewer than 50, you'll be able to switch for free, otherwise, you might need to shell out for the privilege.
That said, if you have more than a couple hundred posts on your account, you might lose the remainder. A note appended to the bottom of the Justmigrate homepage reads:
Because of Tumblr's daily api limits we move only 60-70 posts per day. If you feel your migration has stopped since 2 days please contact support immediately. Also do remember to turn off "Post to twitter" option in Tumblr before you start migration.
One more thing: make sure you disable Tumblr from autoposting to Twitter whenever you add a new post there. Don't spam your Twitter followers with dozens of tweets. Don't make the same mistake I did.
Moving to Wordpress
If you’re moving your blog to WordPress.com, there's a tool that will import your posts, comments and categories from your backup file. You'll need to set up which people have access to the blog manually, and move over any pages you might have yourself by copying and pasting the contents.
Screenshot via WordPress
If you're hosting a WordPress blog elsewhere, there's a plugin that should care of the process for you without having to download the .ZIP file.
Moving Anywhere Else
Website building service Squarespace has an importer tool as well. It's as easy as entering your Posterous credentials.
Blogger has a tool similar to the WordPress one for importing from .XML files.
Moving to Typepad is a little more complex, as you can't import using a standard .XML file. If you're set on using that platform, perhaps the easiest way to shift your Posterous blabbings is to import your .XML file into a temporary WordPress.com blog. Then, export the content using Typepad's import tool.
There you have it. You can take care of moving day yourself. Sure beats paying a couple of burly guys way too much to drop your things on the way to the moving truck.
Illustration by Jason Reed
The Internet thinks it's a damn shame that a 91-year-old World War II veteran is being evicted by his own daughter.
So, thanks to his granddaughter, a convoluted story, and and a lot of people who are eager to help, the money is flooding in.
More than a thousand people have donated roughly $25,000 to the man, Jack Potter. The number's steadily rising. The vast majority of donations have come Friday, when his story went viral; most are small.
Potter's house, in Zaleski, Ohio (population 278), has enormous sentimental value to him. He said he built it in 1959 with his wife, and the only years of his life he's lived outside that town were when he was fighting in the Pacific.
"I know it's not a lot, but I hope this helps," wrote Lori Nelson, who gave $10.
To save her grandfather, Jaclyn Fraley says she needs money—lots of money—to give to her mother, Janice Cottrill. That's odd, because money isn't an issue in the eviction. It's personal.
The reason Cottrill wants to evict her own father is a long one. Her husband told local news affiliate NBC4i that she's angry Potter was withholding visitation rights on her autistic brother, Joe.
According to court documents, Cottrill had power of attorney over Potter and transferred his property to herself in 2004. Potter wasn't too pleased with that decision, but he didn't file a legal objection until 2011—meaning he was past the four-year statute of limitations, and thus was out of luck.
As she wrote on her GoFundMe plea:
"While the last thing I want to do is pay my mother any money for the pain and anguish she has caused my grandfather, if it will save his home, I will do anything. If 125,000 people read this and 125,000 people donate simply $1, or just 6,250 people donate $20, I will be able to buy him back his home. Anything raised above the cost of the house will go to paying for in home care and anything else he might need. Any donation you can give helps, please help my grandfather enjoy what time he has left in the home he built, which holds his memories of a full and wonderful life.
She's even been active on YouTube, recording her grandfather's gratitude toward those who have donated.
Fraley noted elsewhere that her mother plans to sell the house. She didn't immediately respond to the Daily Dot's inquiry whether her mother would actually sell her the house, considering she was reportedly evicting Potter for more personal reasons.
Meanwhile, the money continues to pour in.
Todd Borne was one of the several people who donated while the Daily Dot was composing this story. He gave $5.
"Sad story when the banks are in charge," he wrote.
Photo via GoFundMe
Spoiler alert: Your grandparents are probably still having sex. Even if they're not, they still have an opinion about it.
Initially it looks like the video's heading into awkward family dinner territory; the seniors even feign deafness and ask Wavey to repeat himself multiple times, but then they let loose.
In short? They love it.
"I'd rather do it then think about it, for one thing," one participant added.
Most of the participants were from the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Seniors Services department and self-identify as part of the LGBT community, so the answers are naturally skewed to have a positive opinion and probably don't represent the feelings of all senior citizens.
But that doesn't mean the candid answers are any less insightful for it.
"The favorite part was the come, come, come, come, come!" an 82-year-old woman replied.
"I identify as LGBT, C, sometimes F, and Q," offered one man with a receding hairline. The “F” stands for "flexibility," he added with a cheeky smile.
Some of them haven't had it in years, some would do it everyday, and some are still doing it. And they each have their own memories attached to it.
"I'm not dead yet, and I'll probably be sexual until the day I die," one woman said. "Maybe after, I don't know."
"There's nothing wrong with being a slut," a man wearing a blue shirt noted.
They might be our elders, but they're still young at heart.
Jannic Nielssen is looking to kickstart his career, so he borrowed a page from the most successful crowdfunding platform out there.
Nielssen graduated from Millikin University—located in Decatur, Ill.‚— with a degree in communications. Like most people his age, he's having a tough time finding a job. But instead of cold calling and sending unsolicited letters of interest to companies in hopes of hearing back from one of them, the recent grad has taken a proactive approach and launched KickJannic, an online resume that looks a lot like a Kickstarter project page.
Nielssen, who's looking to get a job in social media or advertising, notes on his page that he got the idea for the clever resume from Phillippe Dubost. In January 2013, the French Web product manager turned his CV into an Amazon product page.
Nielssen chose to emulate the crowdfunding site for a reason.
"Kickstarter serves as a great metaphor for my situation, from the time limits set on projects, to the people that take it upon themselves to help support and launch something," he writes on KickJannic.
Nielssen was an international student at Millikin—he's a citizen of Jamaica and Norway— and he was in the United States on a student visa. After graduating, he applied and was approved for Optional Practical Training status, which permits him to remain in the country for a year. It also requires that he get a job within the first three months.
That "6 days to go" counter on isn't just a gimmick. It's how long Nielssen has to go before he loses his OPT status. And instead of asking for money, Nielssen's page is hoping his backers spread the word via multiple social media platforms. He's even offering incentives like a free social media consultation for those who pledge to share his resume.
It's unclear whether Nielssen's campaign will succeed given how little time he has left. But if he doesn't, he can take solace in the fact that he's really good at thinking outside the box. We hear that's a very attractive attribute for employers.
Photo via KickJannic/YouTube
To the downloaders out there who got free copies of The Avengers, Game of Thrones, and Rihanna songs, you're welcome.
It was supposed to be informative. It was supposed to show you how to defend yourself if you were flagged by the Copyright Alert System (CAS), the new anti-piracy regime launched earlier this year by U.S. Internet service providers and major content companies.
In a study started in late February and shared with the Daily Dot, users attempted to get caught using the peer-to-peer filesharing program BitTorrent in a common, but illegal way. That means downloading torrents of popular movies, shows, and albums, and uploading them, piece by piece, for other users.
But damn if that thing isn't hard to trigger.
The CAS, started in February, is supposed to flag U.S. Internet users who share popular movies and music on programs like BitTorrent, then give them a slap on the wrist. Then, if they do it four more times, they'll get a more severe punishment. Violators could have their browsers locked or their connections slowed, depending on which Internet provider they use.
People have serious concerns about how fair the system will be, its own advisory board says it has major trust issues, and one question has loomed large over the program's deployment: What happens if it flags me? How do I fight back?
So the study tried to get the attention of the CAS in the most obvious way possible: By sharing files over a standard residential account with Verizon, one of the program’s five participating Internet providers. (The others are Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T, and Cablevision.)
The first step was to download BitTorrent, the go-to file sharing method for media pirates. The study obtained torrent files the way many people do: By visiting the Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent site, and picking some popular, recent content. That included the season 3 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the most-pirated TV episode of all time. It also included songs by Rihanna, because for some reason her music frequently triggers similar systems in France and New Zealand, and The Avengers, which a redditor reported his girlfriend's little brother had been sharing when he received a CAS warning.
Here's the nitty-gritty of how the system is supposed to work: A CAS partner that holds a copyright (say, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) wants to cut down on the number of people pirating one of its movies (say, The Avengers). Disney Studios will download a torrent of that file, and watch it all the way through to make sure it's really The Avengers. If it is, a Disney employee will have the CAS download the file from a peer-to-peer filesharing program like BitTorrent.
It hinges on a simple fact about BitTorrent: If you’re uploading a file without masking your Internet protocol (IP) address, your IP will be visible to whoever's downloading from you—including the CAS’s MarkMonitor software. The CAS matches the IP addresses of uploaders against those of customers who use one of the five participating ISPs—say, Verizon—and then Verizon sends them a warning. Yes, that means that if you can mask your IP address, the CAS shouldn't be able to flag you.
But, as the goal of the study was to get caught red-handed by the CAS, the investigative team made no attempt to disguise its IP address, and no attempt to block connections from IPs that might belong to MarkMonitor or other copyright tracking services.
After downloading all that content, then came the waiting game. They let all those files seed—upload to other users—each night. Any day, perhaps, there'd be an email sent to that Verizon account, saying the CAS noticed the pirated content, and please stop. If an alert comes, it costs $35 to contest it with the American Arbitration Association, which is refunded if the user wins.
And how does one do that? Officially, the CAS has said that whoever pays for the Internet connection is liable for any copyright infringement on that account. But in a memo to its customers, Comcast has indicated that "I don't know who did it, but it wasn't me!" is a valid defense.
But after three weeks of providing free entertainment to downloaders all over the world, Verizon never came knocking. So all we can say with certainty about the system is that it isn't unfailingly flagging infringers.
The results of this study do not prove, by any means, that the CAS isn't working. It just didn't work in this instance, in a limited test of just one of the five participating ISPs.
A Verizon executive told the Daily Dot they're increasingly flagging more and more users. The people who run the CAS have said they will eventually provide comprehensive numbers to the public—but they're not talking now. So maybe in the future, someone will try this again, and we'll get a better sense of the system.
Until then, whoever you are: Enjoy your Game of Thrones. It's good, isn't it?
Disclaimer: The analyses performed in connection with this article were done for non-commercial, newsgathering purposes. The files downloaded and used for the analyses were existing torrents and were used only for non-commercial, testing purposes. As a content creator and intellectual property owner itself, The Daily Dot does not condone or endorse piracy, and respects the intellectual property rights of others.
Correction: A previous version of this story claimed the study was conducted in February. It was actually started in February, after the implementation of the CAS was announced.
Illustration by Jason Reed, Photo by madaboutshanghai/Flickr
A Norwegian tech journalist is claiming that a schoolgirl’s private photos are being uploaded, without her consent or knowledge, to his Google+ account. He has her passport information, geolocation, and pictures of her friends and school.
If this journalist is telling the truth, it's a glitch Google needs to figure out immediately. If he's not, and a teen girl's private information is on his computer for another reason, the story becomes much more scandalous.
Magnus Eidem, based in Oslo and working for the site Dagensit.no, reported yesterday that he’s received more than 300 photos from a teenage girl living on another continent over the past few weeks. Eidem claims that the photos are being automatically uploaded to an album on his Google+ account from the unidentified 16-year-old girl’s Sony Xsperia S smartphone. The girl also uploaded a photo of her Norwegian passport, giving Eidem her name, age, address, and social security number.
Screenshot of Eidem's Google+ via DN.no
In his story, written on DN.no (translation here), Eidem claims that Google has never before encountered a glitch like this. He quotes Google Denmark’s PR manager Christine Sørensen, who says the problem is most likely due to a user error. For this to be the case, the teenager would have had to log in to Eidem’s phone using his username and password. She does not appear to use Google+ herself.
Eidem says he has changed the Google+ password on his Android phone, but that’s not the fix. He writes that he needs to contact the girl to get her to sever the link, but he can’t see her email address or username, and a Google search for her name and address came up blank. He could try knocking on her door, he writes, but she lives on another continent.
Incidentally, Eidem’s beat for the past eight years as a tech journo has been social networks and privacy. He thinks the girl is unaware that her photos are being uploaded and wonders how many others unsuspecting users this is happening to. The Daily Dot has reached out to Eidem and is currently awaiting comment.
Over on the website Hacker News, users have been speculating on the “glitch.” Here are the favored theories:
1) Magnus Eidem made this whole thing up.
It’s awfully convenient that he’s a tech journalist and he just so happened to start getting the photos of a teenage girl from his same country. He has the platform. The story is kind of salacious (re: what if that girl starts sexting and he’s got an unwanted child pornography charge slapped on him?) and the headline is totally clickable. Have I become cynical in my old age? Yes. Could this be happening to others and it just so happens that this time it was a tech reporter? Sure. Could he also just be concocting some excuse for having 300 pictures of a teenage girl on his computer? Obviously. Welcome to the Internet.
2) The girl and Eidem have a similar email address.
Most of us have been entangled in a case of mistaken Web identity. I used to receive emails from an elementary school in Connecticut because one of their teachers was also named Gabrielle Dunn. In this case, could be that Eidem and the girl have similar email addresses and it’s a case of mistaken switcheroo. Slightly unlikely here, but it happens fairly often.
3) Eidem reviewed a phone. The girl bought the phone after he returned it, but Eidem was still logged into his Google+ account.
This theory from user web64 is my favorite right now:
I guess tech-journalist gets to try out quite a few mobile phones through their work. Would it not be a reasonable scenario that the journalist got to try a phone and used the Google+ app with his account. Upon returning the phone, it wasn't reset properly before being sold to another person. So the Google+ app could still be associated with the journalist's account when the phone was sold on. In this article, the journalist reviews the Sony Xperia S, the very same phone model that the girl uses.
Great detective work, Internet. As Sherlock Holmes says, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” But man, if this is the case? That’s wild.
Update: Google responded to confirm someone is in touch with Eidem. "We are not aware of widespread issues and cannot comment on specific accounts, but we know how important security is to our users and we are working directly with the individual to resolve any issues," wrote PR rep Iska Hain in an email.
Screenshot via DN.no
Two new Twitter apps look to reshape Twitter as we know it. One offers a fleeting appearance of a tweet, while the other aims to help you retract an incorrect message. Though each has noble intentions, their usefulness varies.
Efemr, beyond that not-very-memorable name, lets users post tweets with a timer. Once the clock runs out, your tweet is automatically deleted. You can choose the length of time for which the tweet is live by using a hashtag such as #10m for 10 minutes, or #1h for an hour. It's pitched as a way to "control your reputation."
It's sort of like Snapchat, in that anything you share has a time limit. Only there can be no such thing as the Snapchat of Twitter. One is an app allowing the sharing of ephemeral photos with friends. The other is a public, mass distribution network where messages can be seen by millions within minutes.
Once your original tweet is gone, that kills any native retweets (i.e., those generated using the Retweet button) of it as well. Yet it's impossible to control how information disseminates on Twitter.
Others can manually retweet you. They can screencap your tweets. They can embed them on their blogs or in Storify. Your tweets will live on in social media search engine Topsy and Google's cache. Information on Twitter is like a hydra—you can cut off one head, but the others will still exist.
Once you've posted something on the Internet, it's damn near impossible to remove it, especially once it's caught the attention of others. If you're posting something you don't really want certain others to see, don't bother posting it. Simple.
There are arguably a few cases in which Efemr might actually be useful.
Let's say you're announcing a live event taking place in the very near future. Once the event's taken place, you don't have any need for the announcement tweet any longer and it might cause confusion to leave it there. There's a case to be made that Twitter is all about posting updates in real-time and that tweets have a short half-life, but to delete tweets just because they're no longer timely seems disingenuous.
Another app concerning itself with your reputation is Retwact. If you can get past that God-awful moniker, it seeks to offer a solution for sharing incorrect information by retracting tweets.
There's a lot to be said about the volume of misinformation on Twitter, especially during breaking news situations, where there is often incorrect information. Take for instance, the Newtown elementary school shootings in December, where the wrong man was named as the perpetrator and instantly vilified. Or CNN revealing a suspect had been taken into custody in relation to the Boston Marathon bombings—when in fact no such thing had transpired. Or the Associated Press being hacked and a false tweet appearing regarding White House explosions and an injury to President Barack Obama.
Incorrect information spreads just as quickly as true, accurate, and verifiable details on Twitter.
Retwact was created by Stonly Baptiste, a Florida-based software developer, in response to an article calling for a way to correct tweets.
Baptiste was at a meeting in Pennsylvania when the Boston bombings happened. "A few members of our team lived in the Boston area, so it became a topic of conversation. At the time, the most readily available "news source" for me was Twitter on my mobile phone," he told the Daily Dot. "Needless to say, we all partook in sharing a lot of misinformation (as did the rest of the country thanks to the news media). That got me thinking about how big of a problem the spread of misinformation really was."
There's no easy, clear way to correct false information. You can easily say "Sorry, everyone, ignore that last tweet. Wrong info." but that wrong information could have spread to millions of users already through retweets.
Baptiste tried to fix that by creating a system where you let everyone who retweeted you know that you need to retract that comment. He created a Google Doc outlining the idea and decided to actually build it after positive feedback from Hacker News. "It still needs to manage long retweets better, and needs to console people who have no retweets available, but it works."
Once you've shared your retraction, Retwact uses its own Twitter account to tell your retweeters about the bad information. Here's how it looked when we tested it.
If you're heavily active on Twitter and get a lot of retweets, it can be difficult to reach all the people who've retweeted you and to let everyone know of your mistake. This could be a useful way to do just that.
However, the same problem as with Efemr persists. Beyond manual retweets, tweets appear on blogs, screenshots on Reddit, and quotes in newspaper articles. Hunting down each instance where your tweet appears elsewhere in the world can be difficult.
To somewhat mitigate that, Baptiste soon plans to add "the option of deleting the original tweet to invalidate links as well messaging people who tweeted something that constitutes a likely manual retweet as part of the retraction campaign."
Baptiste has made a valiant stab at fixing the issue of wrongful information on Twitter. Perhaps he should consider Retwacting his app's name, however.
Do you want to date a billionaire? Of course you do. How about one who runs her own lifestyle empire and who spent some time in a white-collar prison for insider trading? Even if there’ve been rumors that she treats her staff kinda poorly and is super-anal about her offices?
It’s your lucky day: Martha Stewart is on Match.com. She joined last week during a Today segment with Matt Lauer and Sam Yegen, CEO of Match and cofounder of OkCupid. (Oh, so that’s who to thank for that misery. I’ve got your name now, Yegen.)
“In the spirit of adventure” and to help promote her nephew Dan Slater’s new book, Love in the Time of Algorithms, Stewart agreed to try and find love online. She’d considered it for a while, she said, but was too afraid to actually sign up. At first, she wanted to include a photo of herself and her real name, but Yegen talked her out of it:
Only because I think it would be distracting to those initial conversations you have where everyone is going to be about talking to Martha, as opposed to really getting to know the person first.
So what is Martha Stewart, now 71, looking for in a man? Well, she doesn’t believe in the word “soulmate” and she probably wouldn’t get married again. She mostly just wants “someone to sleep with” and “have breakfast with.” Girl, I hear that. Martha Stewart, y’all. She’s just like us!
Jezebel perused Match and found what the site is reporting to be Stewart’s actual online dating profile. Despite Yegen’s warning, Martha my dear couldn’t help dropping some hints to her celeb status: She mentions the name of her newest book, Living the Good Long Life, right in her intro and describes herself as “entrepreneurial, hard working, fun, adventurous.” She enjoys hiking, yoga, gardening, and antiques. She exercises five or more times a week (damn.) She also lists “horses” under pets. If this isn’t Martha Stewart, someone is doing a pretty good job trawling for men as Martha Stewart, which is a sentence I never thought I’d ever have to type.
The commenters on Jezebel think it’s her, too—and they recommend someone as vivacious as Stewart try and skew younger in the dating pool. Get yourself a boy toy, Martha! And someone tell Matt Lauer that not all perfectly coiffed 70-something billionaires are looking to get married. Does Martha Stewart look like she needs a man?
In the meantime, find that profile, ask her out, and make Martha Stewart some over-easy eggs in the morning. If you can handle the pressure.
Image via nrkbeta/Flickr
"This is my last tweet," he posted. "All the support from fans was well appreciated."
Ware caught national attention during when his right leg split open in a freak accident during the Final Four basketball tournament in March, and the national attention shot made him a Twitter celebrity, skyrocketing to more than 175,000 followers.
He was nodding, apparently, to being approached by a TMZ reporter after Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner, which Ware attended with his girlfriend. The reporter asked Ware if his injury had slowed his sex life, to which Ware sheepishly grinned and slightly nodded his head no. TMZ ran the headline "Kevin Ware—My Leg Is Broken, but My Sex Life Is Just Fine!"
On the other hand, it appears that loosely enforced Louisville rules state Ware isn't allowed to use Twitter anyway, as he casually noted: "its a team rule." And soon after Ware's injury, teammate Peyton Siva told the Michigan Daily that “We stay away from social media."
Image via Billionairebev/Instagram
“We don’t Twitter, we do Instagram," Siva added, "but that’s only because Coach [Pitino] doesn’t know what that is yet. We stay away from a lot of outside things.”
Since the announcement, Ware has updated his Instagram once, with an inspirational athlete quote from Tumblr. It's unaware if it was intentional, but the move automatically cross-posts to his Twitter account.
Photo via Billionairebev/Instagram
Twitter has some solid, expensive advice to keep your account secure: Have a computer for tweeting and nothing else.
Granted, that advice was primarily aimed at news organizations. But following that advice would make it a more expensive social network to use than even App.net.
Twitter sent a memo to a number of newsrooms and journalists Monday regarding best practices for keeping accounts secure. It comes in the wake of recent account hacks with the likes of the Associated Press (and the subsequent stock market dip), The Guardian, CBS News, and the BBC all falling victim to the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).
Twitter doesn't want any more of these hacks going down, but believes "that these attacks will continue, and that news and media organizations will continue to be high value targets to hackers." So, it wants news outlets to stuff their social media managers into bomb shelters.
In the memo, posted in full on BuzzFeed, Twitter warns reporters to be aware of the kinds of attacks the SEA has successfully used in recent months. The "spear phishing" attacks target journalists within an organization by appearing to be from colleagues. Hackers target individuals by personalizing the spoof emails in an effort to make them seem more legitimate.
In lieu of a more robust login system, though Twitter is reportedly working on one, the company offered some advice on how to lock down accounts. Until it releases that two-factor authentication, it seems the company is sending its comms team to panic stations, urging likely targets to batten down the hatches. Here's a breakdown of Twitter's advice.
Designate one computer to use for Twitter. This helps keep your Twitter password from being spread around. Don't use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection.
In other words, Twitter suggests the person running Twitter accounts for a news organization be shut away from the rest of the Internet. Don't click links on Twitter (useful advice for those who retweet a lot and want to verify information). Don't move away from your corner. Don't give your readers links to your news stories. Actually, there might be an ulterior motive there: By stopping news organizations from posting links, there's nothing to click through to, and so people will keep their attention on their timelines. We know your game, Twitter.
Talk with your security team about ensuring that your corporate email system is as safe as possible. A third-party provider that allows for two-factor authentication might be a safer solution.
Keep your email accounts secure. Twitter uses email for password resets and official communication. If your email provider supports two-factor authentication, enable it. Change your e-mail passwords, and use a password different from your Twitter account password.
Change your Twitter account passwords. Never send passwords via e-mail, even internally. Ensure that passwords are strong- at least 20 characters long. Use either randomly generated passwords (like "LauH6maicaza1Neez3zi") or a random string of words (like "hewn clothstitles yachts refine").
Or, in plain English: "Guys, it's not us, it's you."
Minimize the number of people that have access. Even if you use a third-party platform to avoid sharing the actual Twitter account password, each of these people is a possible avenue for phishing or other compromise.
This isn't Netflix. Sharing accounts is totally wrong, and you should have one insane robot that operates your organization's Twitter feed 24-7.
Build a plan. Create a formal incident response plan. If you suspect your organization is being targeted by a phishing campaign or has been compromised by a phishing attack, enact the plan.
In other words: "We're not going to tell you exactly what to do. Just be ready to do it."
There's a lot of useful information in the memo to go along with the slightly over-the-top method of one computer to rule all a company's Twitter accounts. Let Twitter know about all the accounts linked to an organization to help it keep a watchful eye. Keep your mogwai away from water. Get in touch with Twitter as soon as there's a suspected hack. Use a password manager.
All right, one of those may not be from Twitter's memo, but all are important pieces of advice.
Heaven forbid you use your Twitter machine for anything other than posting tweets, however. That tactic is about as helpful as tying your home down with a piece of string when a tornado's coming.
Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III
Memes seem fairly innocuous. Some, like Scumbag Steve, embrace their Internet fame, and a few have even managed to eke out a living as minor celebrities. The consensus seems to be that this form of viral comedy is basically harmless.
That's not the way one Tennessee family feels. The parents of Adam Holland recently filed suit on behalf of their son, alleging defamation of character after a 10-year-old photo of Holland was turned into an Internet meme mocking his Down syndrome. Though the case will be hard to prove, a court victory for the Holland family could have a significant impact on Internet culture.
According to The City Paper of Nashville, Pamela and Bernard Holland have filed suit against a Tampa, Fla., radio station, a Minnesota resident, and a meme generator website, requesting $18 million in damages. The defendants are accused of repurposing a photo of Adam Holland taken in 2004.
The photo shows the then-17-year-old proudly holding up an art project he made as part of a special education class. Though the original drawing says "Go Titans," in reference to the local NFL team, the meme has replaced the original art project with countless other—often derogatory—messages.
Such was the case with WHPT-FM, the Tampa radio station that doctored the sign to read "Retarded News" and used it on the company website to link to a category of silly and ridiculous news items. They were named in the lawsuit along with signgenerator.org, which featured Holland's photo as part of a "Retarded Handicap Generator." The website invited users to create their own text to replace Adam Holland's original artwork.
The lawsuit also names Russell LaLevee, of Spring Park, Minn., who posted the picture on Flickr with a "sexual reference." LaLevee, a Minneapolis area realtor, has since taken down the photo but not before it garnered more than 31,000 views.
None of the defendants named in the lawsuit immediately responded to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. In a statement to the Associated Press, Cox Media Group, which owns WHPT, said it was their policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.
"What was done here was done maliciously, at least on the part of some of those defendants, ascribing and using expletives and derogatory statements that degrade and dehumanize this young man," said Larry Crain, the Hollands’ attorney, speaking to a local news affiliate.
The suit alleges that the defendants violated the Tennessee Personal Rights Act while misappropriating Adam Holland in a false and defamatory manner that intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
While many would agree that turning a young man born with Down syndrome into meme is tasteless and mean, it will be hard to prove civil liability.
Woodrow Hartzog, an assistant professor of law at Samford University with a specialty in privacy law and online communication, said defamation cases have always been notoriously tough to prove, due to the ample “breathing room” courts have given the First Amendment over the years.
“Because free speech is such an important right in this country, the courts have a long tradition of leaning on the side of the first amendment,” he told the Daily Dot. “That’s why we have comparatively fewer lawsuits that are actually brought before the court.
“Defamation exists everywhere on the Internet, but most people can’t be bothered with the cost, in time and money, to prove wrongdoing.”
But the Internet and meme culture are putting more and more pressure on the issue. Last May, a mother lashed out online after a three-year-old photo of her daughter, who also had Down syndrome, became the I Can Count to Potato meme.
In theory, the laws regarding defamation and libel apply the same universally. In other words, posting a false claim in an Internet comment is just as libelous as writing it in a letter to the editor that appears in a print newspaper. Judicial precedent also makes it clear that reprinting a libelous statement is its own act of libel, even if the person reprinting did not actually create the original false statement or image.
But in an age when virtually anyone can be a "publisher," this traditional definition is being pushed to the edge. The speed and carelessness with which content can spread far exceeds what traditional media was ever capable of, to the point where trying to undo a meme, Hartzog said, is like “trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.” He said the casual pervasiveness of memes is creating a culturally lax attitude toward these issues.
At the same time, there have been virtually no new legal precedents established specifically to protect people from Internet-specific defamation, Hartzog said. There have been legislative efforts to control Internet civility and curb cyberbullying, but he said many of these have been difficult to enforce. Throughout American legal history, defamation has typically been a matter of common law and Hartzog predicts any changes will have to come from the bench as byproducts of lawsuits like the one filed by the Hollands
“One of the frustrating things about Internet communications is that people who have been wronged or defamed don’t really have a good answer right now in the law,” he said.
“The legal tools available to these victims aren’t very effective. It’s a good thing from a free speech standpoint; it ensures a healthy amount of free expression on the web. But it’s bad because we have these torts that are intended to protect people and they’re sort of useless in the Internet age.”
Photo via Nashville City Paper
It's never easy, ever, to create a "quick editorial cartoon about the intersection of self-pity, entitlement, rape, territoriality, misogyny and fear of women." But when animator Scott Benson set out to do just that after spending some time following the antics of the so-called men's rights activists (MRAs), he found himself creating a short, pithy cartoon that predicted its own response.
Benson's 40-second cartoon, "But I'm a Nice Guy," paints an ironic picture of the men's rights movement as a tantrum-throwing stock bully who's infuriated because a girl tried to have some ice cream for herself. It also features some prominent lines and catchphrases from the MRAs, such as "feminazis" and "take the red pill," a reference to the Matrix and Reddit's subforum, The Red Pill.
Above all, the refrain is one of fear. On his Vimeo account, Benson elaborates:
In lurking their blogs and youtube channels for a while, I've noticed that beyond the standard patriarchal chauvinism there is this deep fear of women—what they will do to me, how they will reject me, how they will use me, how they are changing society in a way that does not favor me, how they are making men into something I don't like, how they are making themselves into something I don't like, that they won't give me what I want, and that they won't give me what I think is rightfully mine. This goes beyond fear of feminism—this is fear of women at its purest. And that, to quote a puppet, leads to anger and hate. It's sad.
Sometime in the three days since the video went up, Benson had to disable comments because of vitriol—or, as he put it, "BECAUSE OF INTERNET, YOU KNOW HOW IT IS." In this case, "how it is" is the deplorably predictable state wherein angry MRAs have turned trolling the comments and platforms of anyone they don't like into a veritable art form. This, too, Benson addressed on his Tumblr, which was allegedly also bombarded with angry feedback:
It’s an unfortunate fact that the MRM’s loudest faction ARE extremely antagonistic toward women and dismissive of the real, long-standing institutional chauvinism and misogyny you see in everything from the Bible that enshrined women as virginal property / temptress whores to the Constitution which did not extend to them the right to vote... And until someone comes up with something better, Feminism is the only game in town really fighting the fight to figure this shit out. If MRA want to take up that mantle, they had best start weeding out the trolls and misogynists before they ask anyone to take them seriously. Because they’ve got more of the latter than the former.
Benson is quick to point out that his video is satire, a parody look at serious issues. Still, he adds, "If this vid is close enough to an actual person/idea to be a strawman, maybe that says more about the person and their ideas than my terrible illogical awfulness."
MRA watch blog Manboobz's commenter Shiraz has a slightly different take on Benson's vid: "I would argue that this video DOES address men’s issues. Men are hurting themselves with this reactionary, angry, fearful shit."
But at The Red Pill (which refers to the act of "waking up" to the damage that MRAs believe feminism has caused in society), the few Redditors who commented felt the video was "childish" and unclear.
"There are some in the MRA/MGTOW who are afraid of women," said ThomasWaldemann:
And with good cause: false accusations and divorce can be life destroying situations for weak men... I don't think anyone here believes they are hurting themselves by improving their bodies, their minds and their ability to pick up random women... In the end, do what makes you happy. No one here should be a nice guy anymore, anyway.
No more Mister Nice Guys? Ladies, watch your backs.
Or at least your ice cream.
If there's anyone out there who still feels pangs of guilt watching porn online, there's finally a site that should completely ease your worried soul. Come4 promises to be the first amateur porn site that turns your horny Web pastime into cash for charity.
The site hasn't officially launched, but it's already teamed with ad agency TBWA to promote its first porn-for-good charity initiatives, a fundraising drive for the Asta Philpot Foundation, which aims to raise awareness for the sexual rights of the disabled. So far, that's amounted to an NSFW ad (featured below).
Come4's exists thanks entirely to the kindness of strangers. Founders Marco Annoni and Riccardo Zilli launched a fundraiser on crowdfunding site Ululu last year, quickly raising more than $20,000, $7,000 more than their original goal.
But Annoni and Zilli aren't stopping at charity. They want to fundamentally change how we produce, experience, and interpret pornography online—to untether it from corporate interests, to make it more personal and real:
Instead of reflecting the natural plurality of human sexuality, much of today's online sexual contents foster a one-dimensional perspective which is often fake, violent, macho-centered, and in many cases barely legal. We believe that we, as a self-aware community, can do better than this, and that time has come to rethink critically the relationship of online pornography and society.
H/T AdWeek | Screengrab via Vimeo