Anime Vice News

WTF Wednesday Part I: Fox on 4chan

Fox takes on the Anonymi.

Haven't we been through this enough already? Apparently not: Fox News' Tech Tuesday report for last week was actually a spotlight on 4chan, a mysterious entity who bears responsibility for Harry Potter spoilage at bookstores (because I'm sure no one would have had that idea had they not been browsing /b/ earlier in the day), for hacking into Sarah Palin's e-mail (who but an Anonymous would have the skills and unlimited free time?), and for all those Guy Fawkes mask protests of Scientology and the sudden resurgence in popularity of Rick Astley (surely-- wait, no, okay, those really are 4chan).

But what Fox, and nearly every other mainstream news outlet, completely fails at is this: they talk about all the crazy shit that goes down on 4chan and its occasional overlapping with the “real” world, and they almost never mention any of the psychology of the site. They talk about how anonymity is key, but they move along without talking about why, or how it leads to some of the most real and some of the most UNreal conversations on the Internet.

That said, I'll give credit where credit is due: Fox's writer, Taryn Sauthoff, offers examples of positive things that the site has done (seeking out the Palin hacker, reporting a cat abuser to his local authorities, etc), and only mentions the words “Internet hate machine” in reference to how some media have covered the site.

Still though...I'd like to see that essay on the psychology of 4chan. Hey, any upcoming psych seniors specializing in media psychology out there? Here's an idea for a thesis! (Via Nebs)
ethan staff on April 15, 2009 at 10:10 a.m.
I feel like 4Chan and Fox News have a lot in common.  Both spread alot of rumors.
HeeroYuyon April 15, 2009 at 10:36 a.m.
Actually the Sarah Palin "hacking" isn't even deserving of such a title. The guy who did it went (is currently?) to the same university as me. All he did was answer the security questions to have them email the password by looking up information about her online...

In any case, to analyze an entity such as 4chan would be extremely complicated. Sure, you could start with /b/tards, but there's also the interactions between each of the other boards, the pseudo-clan/faction wars of each board, the types of users, and I'm sure you could write an essay on just the psychology behind why Anonymous follows WiseBeardMan with the whole Project Chanology bit...
giaon April 15, 2009 at 11:31 a.m.
Heero: Precisely why it's such a fascinating topic!
Cheeseball_Joneson April 15, 2009 at 1:25 p.m.
The psychology of 4chan? Penny Arcade already covered that in John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.
MoonStormon April 15, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.
Woot go 4Chan.
They are crazy and will to something stupid on occasion but they will keep to them self most of the time. Unless you provoke them then prepare for hell.
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