By now you may have heard that actress Emma Watson, best known as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, was being threatened with a nude photo leak following comments she made to the U.N. about feminism. 4Chan even created a website, emmayouarenext.com, with a countdown until the photos would be released.
But the countdown, which emerged Monday, was a hoax. When time was up Tuesday, the site redirected to Rantic Marketing, an alleged social-media marketing agency with an anti-4Chan message. "We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention," the Rantic homepage says.
The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in the 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 one step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org. "
Users are given an option to send a letter to the White House or tweet #ShutDown4CHAN.
But—the plot thickens!—Rantic Marketing is itself a hoax, according to Business Insider.
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, but as the Daily Dot reports, their names are alleged to include Jacob Povolotski, Yasha Swag, Swenzy and Joey B. 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.
Rantic Marketing was also behind a Family Guy hoax and rumors that Grand Theft Auto V's PC release had been cancelled. Much of their tomfoolery is accomplished by fake news accounts from a fake publication, Fox Weekly. Here's a cached version of a now-deleted article announcing the Emma Watson photo-leak countdown.
On Rantic's site, there are several suspect signs, including the facts that its contact form is "down due to high mail volume," links to its social media accounts go nowhere, and its founder and CEO is named Brad Cockingham. It's possible Rantic/SocialVEVO is infecting all of our computers with viruses that will steal our nude photos or turn us all into holograms or whatever, but for now it appears to have been done for the lulz, the pageviews, and the chance to make the media jump.