Porn Prank Pesters YouTube

By  |  Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Pranksters from the Web sites 4chan  and eBaum’s world converged on Google’s YouTube video service today for a stunt organizers called “Porn Day,” Ars Technica is reporting.

Porn day participants “carpet bombed” YouTube with pornographic videos throughout the day as YouTube struggled to remove the offending content. Explicit images remained in video thumbnails even after the videos were removed, and it will take several days for the images to be purged from YouTube’s search results, Cnet is reporting.

Google usually relies upon community ratings to flag offensive content, but it took the unusual step of disabling certain channels that were targeted by the pranksters, according to the report.

The pranksters proved that YouTube was vulnerable to abuse, but YouTuthe site’s mechanisms for removing undesirable content the worked effectively enough. It is also unlikely that “Porn Day” organizers could sustain the effort day in and day out.

While it certainly touches on how the anonymity of the Internet can be abused, the prank was just that – a prank. Whether it was funny or not remains in the eye of the beholder.

 
8 Comments


Read more: , ,

7 Comments For This Post

  1. drew Says:

    I wonder how the concept of pranks are viewed in the eyes of the law. Setting aside the wisdom of this prank, what is the cost (time, labor, reputation) to YouTube? Can they sue the “organizers” for damages? Are there real “damages” for YouTube?

  2. Paul Judd Says:

    Drew:

    While I doubt that Google (or anybody else for that matter) finds anything that these guys do is funny, it is very hard to go after them simply because the site owners go out of their way to not leave any records that could be subpoenaed (its all anonymous). My guess is that the site owners already in the clear since it would be incredibly difficult to show that they were behind any of it. At worse, the sites are simply a grounds to discussing said activity (and there is nothing illegal about that – as far as I know 4chan and ebaum go out of the way to say they are not data providers, not editors and permit anything).

    The biggest problem is that none of this is illegal – its just terms of service violation with penalty of account deletion on Google’s part. Sure they could sue, but it would be a monumental waste of time and money resulting in a loss for Google. Google knows this. Its just a hassle for them that they deal with and move on. Best thing to do is to not give these jerks the publicity they seek.

  3. drew Says:

    Paul-

    Interesting. I had not thought in terms of Google wanting to keep secrets. What if we took it down the logical line.

    Let’s say there was a very small business (Zoogle) that suffered the same level of attack, and thier system crashes, and the loss of revenue from the ads led them to fold. While, as you say, none of this illegal, it is interesting to think of how the law would view this vs. say firebombing the trucks of a shipping company. In the end, both companies are driven out of business. I seem to remember a piece here about a flight sim website that was destroyed by hackers, with a decade’s worth of material lost. I wonder when, and how, laws will (or can?) be undated to deal with “what-if” situations like this if they come to pass.

  4. Paul Judd Says:

    Drew
    Its not as if Google wants to keep anything a secret, rather they will just ignore it. Google’s infrastructure is far more expansive than a smaller player – the amount of downtime they suffer is minimal – not to mention a key guarantee – their business model does not guarantee a certain percentage of uptime. If Google goes down, well they are down. Sure a small business is different, but now you are no longer comparing apples to apples anymore since the scale is different. The problems that I brought up before are still the same, who do you sue? can you afford to sue? can you sue them (Are 4chan and ebaum physically located in the US??)

    Second, any comparisons to real physical acts are not really valid comparisons since things like firebombing involve physical acts and physical destruction. It is nowhere near comparable to bringing down a server. Their motives may be alike, but the methods are very different.

  5. Drew Says:

    Paul,

    You wrote:

    “Second, any comparisons to real physical acts are not really valid comparisons since things like firebombing involve physical acts and physical destruction.”

    This is very true, but what if the end result is the same. What if web pages become so important to not only a company’s success, but its survival? Will the laws change to criminalize these things?

    You point on who to sue is a very valid one. Let us, for the sake of argument, say there was a way to sue 4chan and ebaum. Are they worth suing? Do they have assets worth going after?

  6. Bud Fox Says:

    Just terrible, poor YouTube

  7. select001 Says:

    i dont think that you will ever be able to stop this kind of stuff, was looking for a boeing 737 throttle you should of seenthe prank adds i got on that

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Prank: Youtube’s “porn day” excursion | TechFever Network | The Hot Tech News and Gadget Network Says:

    [...] day” which is what stunt organisers from the websites 4chan and eBaum’ want to call Youtube’s “pitty-the-plundered” [...]