The Infamous Image board 4chan has been involved in a lot of shenanigans in its eleven years of existence . If Reddit is the front page of the Internet, then 4chan is its asshole. 4chan is the illegitimate child everyone claims to hate, but secretly adores. Most of the pranks and trolls covered in this list were carried out by the /b/ (Random) board, but /pol/ (political incorrect board) and /v/ (Video games board) were active in some of them, not to mention some of them required inter board coordination, so we will be crediting 4chan as a whole for them.
10. Pitbull goes to Alaska:
In 2012, Walmart and Sheets Brand energy strips launched a promotional campaign to bring the rapper Pitbull to whichever local Walmart store that gains the most new Facebook likes between June 20th and July 15th, 2012. The Internet soon got hint of the promotion and decided to have some fun. They were going to send Pitbull to Kodiak Alaska, the most remote Walmart in the country. The entire town of Kodiak has a population of less than 7,000 and is situated far from any major towns. Prior to to the promotion, Kodiak Alaska’s Walmart Facebook page had 3,700 likes. In less than a day, the page had over 100,000 likes, making it the biggest Walmart page on Facebook. Kodiak Alaska had won the competition. Being the good sport that he is, Pitbull decided to visit Kodiak Alaska. On July 30th, Pitbull arrived in Kodiak Alaska, visited the Walmart employees as well as local residents and attended a ceremony where the mayor presented a key to the city as a gift.
9. Kim Jong Un wins Time’s person of the year:
In the same year as the “Send Pitbull to Kodiak” campaign, 2012, Time magazine was holding its annual “person of the year” event and as many years before, a poll was made available online for fans to vote for their favorite person of the year with the person holding the most votes at the closing of the vote winning the award. One 4chan user caught hint of the vote and invited the other anons to help rig the polls (seen below)
In the following days, several posts were made on the /b/ board asking users to mass vote for Kim Jong Un. They created VBS scripts and downloadable java script programs which were designed to help users vote in bulk. In less than a month, Kim Jong Un was leading the polls with over 3 million votes (Shown Below)
Not satisfied with their victory, 4chan users decided to have more fun with the polls. With the help of automated scripts, they decided to spell “KJU Gas Chambers” with the first letter of the names of the top 14 candidates in the polls. “KJW GAS CHAMBERS” was of course a reference to North Korea’s gulag Camp 22 which has been accused of human rights violations from the international community. In no time, operation KJWGaschambers was successful (Shown below)
8. Waterproof Iphones:
In 2013, after the release of apple’s iOS7, a group of pranksters on 4chan launched a hoax campaign to sabotage the early adopters by creating a series of Apple-esque advertisements claiming that the latest software update will make iPhone devices waterproof. (Seen below).
Someone also created a photoshoped image of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook supposedly promoting the waterproof feature to make waterproof Iphones seem more realistic and authentic (Show below). Twitter, Facebook and other social networks were soon ablaze with lots of frustrated users who had destroyed their Iphones after falling for the prank.
7. Dub The dew – Mountain Dew gets trolled:
In 2012, Mountain dew held an online contest for customers to name its new green apple-infused Mtn Dew drink on the website dubthedew.com . Users of 4chan soon found out about the contest and through inter-board coordination, and the help of scripts, decided to rig the results. They spammed the poll with names like “Hitler did nothing wrong” and “gushing granny” until finally Those names made it to the top.
The site was also hacked shortly afterwards with a scrolling marquee that read “Mtn Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11!”, a video “RickRoll” and a pop up box that read “le 9gag are legion” (Shown below)
Mountain dew admitted on its Twitter account that it had “lost to the Internet” and canceled the campaign shortly after.
6. Taylor Swift and a school for the deaf:
In 2012, Taylor Taylor swift and her management held an online campaign aimed at getting Taylor swift to perform at any school on the country. First you had to like Taylor swift Facebook’s page and then vote in the poll for your favorite school in the United States. Any school that came on top of the polls would receive a visit from Taylor swift. 4chan users soon heard of the campaign and decided to rig the votes. In large numbers, they voted for Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They were sending Taylor swift to perform at a school full of people who lacked to ability to hear.
Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing ended up winning the poll very easily. Taylor swift however decided not to play at the school, but she and four other organizations instead chose to give $10,000 apiece to the school. Taylor’s management stated that the school had been disqualified because they used unconventional methods to win the poll.
5. Pool’s closed:
“Pool’s closed” is catch phrase associated with a series of online raids carried out by 4chan and Anonymous against the online social networking site Habbo Hotel, where members of the group formed human blockades to obstruct the entry points of popular hangouts with their avatars dressed in afros and business suits. The first raid was launched in July 2006 after rumors began to spread on 4chan that some Habbo moderators had tendencies to ban users based on the skin colors of their avatars. According to Knowyourmeme, On July 6th, 2006, a group of 4chan users calling themselves /b/lockers decided to raid Habbo Hotel by forming blockades around the entrances of popular hangouts, exploiting a technical issue that wouldn’t allow avatars to walk through each other when entering and exiting premises. As a result, the human blockade quickly became a source of frustration to the newcomer.
As time passed and the raids continued, the operation also became more organized and complex with detailed instructions on how to participate. The website went offline shortly afterwards, on that same day.
The moderators soon caught on and begun banning all the users participating in the raid. To this day, any avatars that are black with an afro and a suit are automatically banned.
Cutforbieber is arguably the most daring, or if you love the Internet term, “edgy”, prank in this entire list. On January 4th, 2013, paparazzi news blog TMZ published pictures that featured Justin Bieber smoking marijuana. The news went viral and as expected, Bieber’s fan-base consisting of mostly underage teenagers were distraught, with several of them venting their frustration on the Internet. One 4chan user had the ingenious idea to convince the enraged fans to self harm in order to force the pop star to stop taking hard drugs.
In less than an hour, thousands of 4chan users had created fake twitter accounts and were posting pictures of people self harming under the hashtags #cutforbieber and #cuttingforbieber; the hashtag was trending in no time.
At this point, hundreds of Justin Bieber fans who thought this was a legitimate movement quickly joined in cutting themselves to save their hero:
It is unclear what percentage of people using the hashtag were trolls and how many were Bieber fans falling for the prank, but from how things were looking, it could have been evenly distributed.
3. Rick Roll:
Rick rolling is most certainly The Internet’s most famous and iconic bait and switch prank of all time. It involves posting a web link supposedly relevant to the topic at hand on an online forum, which actually re-directs the viewer to Rick Astley’s 1987 hit single “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The URL is often masked or obfuscated as a randomly-generated shortlink to conceal its true source from the experienced users. Whenever someone clicks the link and unintentionally summons Rick Astley’s song, he or she is said to have been rickrolled.
Like most Internet pranks, rickrolling begun on 4chan, where users would claim to have a link to something very interesting, like Emma Watson’s nude photos or leaked movies. However, clicking on the link would redirect you to the “Never gonna give you up” video.
Unfortunately, Rick’s email was hacked by 9gag back in 2012, and his nude pictures were spread all around the Internet. You can view them HERE (nsfw).
2. Project chanology:
While most 4chan users will argue that chanology was what “Killed” 4chan, project chanology was one of the most successful Internet movements carried out in real life. The series of protests movements were launched against the practices of the Church of Scientology by members of Anonymous. The project was started in response to the Church of Scientology’s attempts to remove video clips from a highly publicized interview with Scientologist Tom Cruise from the Internet in January 2008.
The protests went on for a long time, with several Anonymous members (approximately 7000 of them) showing up in front of several scientologist buildings across the globe, wearing masks and holding protest signs.
Anonymous also hacked several of their websites, sent them thousands of blank pictures via fax and got the Internal revenue service on their back by digging into their public records and finding loopholes and instances of them breaking the law.
1. Moot is Time’s person of the Year:
Moot winning Time’s person of the year is undeniable one of the most influential pranks 4chan has ever successfully pulled off. Like when they voted Kim Jong-un to the top of Time’s person of the year, back in 2009, Time magazine was once again holding its person of the year poll. After the link was posted on 4chan, Anons decided to work together to rig the results. Eventually they were able to vote moot to the top of the list, and also managed to vertically spell out “marblecake also the game,” a reference to the name of the IRC channel used during Project Chanology raids, by arranging the first 21 nominees’ names in a particular order. Time announced that Poole had won the title World’s Most Influential Person with 16,794,368 votes on April 27th, 2009.
The announcment from Time magazine read:
“In a stunning result, the winner of the third annual TIME 100 poll and new owner of the title World’s Most Influential Person is moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey. To put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it’s worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job.”
Moot of course attended the red carpet event to pick his award: