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Internet Counterattack

Imagine this: You are the executive of a large corporation, and you have ordered the Chinese factory working for you to cut corners to decrease production costs on your latest product. You've left out a bit here and there (and a bit literally) on the end thingamabob.

Or maybe you are the host of a large MMORPG, and you have just released your latest update, which has patched a few fun, harmless bugs that some players will miss badly. Or maybe your latest expansion pack comes with intrusive DRM that rips the player's computer in two. Or maybe announce a new game only to reveal it was for the iPad or a smartphone? Either way, it doesn't matter — who will ever know? Consumers never tell each other things of this nature, right?

WRONG! If it gets on the Internet, double wrong. You've just awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.

This is the inversion of Viral Marketing. If someone, anyone, both knows of the offense you are committing and has internet access, they will spread it on the 'Net in any form possible, probably blown out of proportion. The Internet's anonymity allowing for poor taste, libel, and harassment, and its instantaneous communication allowing the hysteria to spread quickly, makes any situation a PR disaster waiting to happen, if not already happening. Before you know it, a stream of viral videos, parodies of your advertisements, and maybe photoshopped pictures of your spouse naked will be all over the Internet for the world to see, and if you're really unlucky or happened to piss off the wrong people, someone will DDoS you or break into a database to steal user information. All of this will emphasize the simple (to them) fact that you seriously screwed up. They will not cease and desist until the "problem" is fixed. In the worst case, they won't cease and desist then, either. (Ask Metallica.) Depending on the context, there can also be Motive Decay at play; when something blows up enough, the chance of it being derailed by psychopathic people who just want an excuse to make threats of violence or spew hateful vitriol increases. These people ruin it for everyone, as it's very easy to look at something that started as a totally legitimate grievance but turned into an Internet Tough Guy circus and dismiss it as the ramblings of stupid, ignorant boors looking for something to get angry over.

Now in this case, the target corporation has three options:

  1. Fix the complaint. This is most critical if the mistake isn't your fault — say, the Chinese factory was acting on its own. It must be done carefully — enough publicity for people to know the problem is fixed, but not in such a way as to reinforce the problem's existence. Verizon's "Can You hear Me Now?" campaign is a traditional-media example of this done right... Unfortunately, if you have an Unpleasable or Broken Base, this will probably just move the problem around...
  2. Do nothing! Who cares if the Internet doesn't like you? You still have millions of customers purchasing your products, right?! It can be effective if your product isn't internet-based or aimed heavily at that demographic, and if the counterattack doesn't get too intense. If it does get too intense, it'll spread to traditional media, and you'll have to resort to another strategy. It won't work at all if your product is that MMORPG, whose audience, by definition, congregates on the internet.note  Some people will actually carry out their inevitable threat to cancel their account.
  3. Try to sue the masses for libel. Or, if you can pinpoint the original internet attacker, or the primary source for the attack, sue that. Due to the anonymous nature of the Internet, this rarely works as intended, and often makes the crowd angrier and more rowdy. Organizations who prefer this approach must use a double-pronged attack — they must try to convince any undecided masses that the Internet attackers are in the wrong... Also, actively counter-counterattacking the Internet Counterattack almost always leads to the Streisand Effect - people who were unlikely to know, or care, about your mess-up suddenly find their curiosity piqued, and you can probably see where this usually goes.
  • Related, but not identical — the DMCA takedown method. It won't work on all attack material, and anything taken down is likely to pop back up, and not even through a mirror or re-upload in some cases: if you truly had no legal grounds to remove a YouTube video, its creator can get it back up surprisingly easily (Also, an unjustified DMCA takedown may lead to another wave of attacks from people who didn't care about the original issue.) Nonetheless, if the counterattack is using footage belonging to the corporate target or photoshopping something truly libelous, it can at least slow the speed of an Internet Counterattack, which can sometimes make the difference between it leaping to the mass media or staying contained on the 'Net. And takedowns are quieter than lawsuits... unless you try it on someone in the League of Reason...

Compare Streisand Effect. Not to be confused with Internet Backdraft - that's the Internet ripping itself a new one.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Ijime Connect incident, also known as Auditiongate, was a promotional stunt for the Kokoro Connect anime. Takuma Terashima and the staff of Kokoro Connrect put rookie voice actor Mitsuhiro Ichiki through a Humiliation Conga. This was perceived by the Internet as a power-trip-induced case of bullying — a taboo subject in Japan — leading to a harsh boycott of the anime. As a result, the release of the first home video volume was delayed by one month in an attempt to let time heal all wounds (It didn't work.) and composer Hajime Kikuchi, whose Twitter comments first hinted at the existence of the scandal, left Eufonius out of shame from tipping the Internet off towards the incident.

    Comic Books 
  • Artist Tony Harris wrote an irate Facebook rant accusing nearly every cosplaying girl of being nothing more than attention whores who aren't true nerds. Besides the usual outrage that erupted from his words, Gail Simone declared November 13, the day of his rant, to be "Cosplay Appreciation Day" —- A call to arms for the Internet to shove it in Harris's face, if you will. As a result, Harris decided to never speak of his rant again and a new yearly Internet celebration was born.
  • A good few years ago, in a Batman story called War Games, DC writers killed off established supporting character Stephanie Brown, a love interest of Robin (Tim Drake), whom she had just replaced as Robin. The story had Stephanie Brown tortured brutally, with artwork depicting her in an overly sexualized manner that disgusted many, many readers, especially since the whole incident was treated as her own fault. Understandably, fans were pissed. In response, was founded, campaigning, not for her to be revived, but for her to be recognized and honoured, since the Robin before Tim, Jason Todd, had died in a similar manner yet wasn't sexualized and was given a memorial to honour him while she wasn't. Other sites also popped up, other writers at DC protested the story and were vocal about their own disgust, and fans complained so much that it became a highly recognized example of sexism by fans who didn't even care for Stephanie, so much so that not only did they give her the memorial, but they even revealed she was alive and then gave her a mildly successful ongoing as Batgirl as compensation. Then they erased her from continuity in the New 52, opening a new can of worms, though she was finally reintroduced in 2014.
  • The Ken Penders debacle concerning characters from Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. Back in 2006, Penders left Archie Comics after one of the title's editors started to demand changes towards what he felt was his greatest work, "Mobius: 25 Years Later", though the reason why has never been said (some fans speculate it was because Sega started getting their heads straight and wanted to push the comic to push more game-related stuff). Three years later, Penders learned that, for whatever reason, his contract never mentioned them taking control of his characters and concepts and went to copyright them all before sending Archie (and later Bioware) C&D notices over use of said characters and concepts. Archie sued Penders over this ridiculous push, Penders sued back and things were underway. At first, it seemed that Penders had no leg to stand on and the current creative team and the fans were reassured that. However, when it stood revealed that things were worse off than they were, Archie made the infamous decision to dump every non-Sega, DiC and current Head Writer Ian Flynn-created characters, then reboot the entire title in the conclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide. This was made even worse when, after the case was settled, Penders revealed that he would be more than willing to let Archie use the characters again if they essentially tailored the comic to tie in with his new work using the characters he won back, The Lara-Su Chronicles. These actions have infuriated fans, leading to many who used to enjoy his works to scorn him and hope that TLSC crashes and burns as some sort of karmic payback.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stephen Colbert is a rare example of a singular figure who inspires internet counterattacks quite regularly, sometimes without even intending to. For instance, the Megyeri Bridge's name was originally going to be determined with an online poll. Colbert featured it on his show and (jokingly, of course) told his viewers to vote for his name. Not only did fans vote legitimately, but they also created scripts to stuff the ballot box and put his name in first place. This got so out of hand that Colbert decided to offer an apology and implore his viewers to stop their efforts, but even that wasn't enough; Colbert's name won the final round.
  • After the berserk nature of Amy's Baking Company was exposed by Kitchen Nightmaresnote , the Internet continued where Gordon Ramsay ended by criticizing the restaurant's rude behavior on their Facebook page. What ensued was an even more psychotic breakdown than what what was displayed on the show.
  • Cartoon Network got much backlash from the CN Real block, especially with its somewhat arrogant marketing ("More than just Cartoons"), to the point that the block and everything associated with it was purged from the marketing as well as many of the shows associated with the block, with the last few live action shows (Hole In The Wall, Dude, What Would Happen?, and Destroy Build Destroy) lingering until November 2011, where they were finally canceled. This, along with the continued attempts to apply live action shows to the network (such as Tower Prep, Level Up, and Incredible Crew) are possibly more noticed than the network's attempts to Win Back the Crowd.
  • As a result of Chris Crocker's remark on 9/11, a petition was made to stop him from having his own TV show.

  • A cooking magazine called Cooks Source once reprinted a blogger's pie recipe without her permission. When the blogger called them on it, she got a nasty email about how she should be thanking them for publishing her work; the editor had somehow gotten the idea that anything on the Internet is public domain, so they could steal it with impunity without compensating the authors so long as she credited them. The Internet, naturally, exploded, harassing the magazine's Facebook page and investigating where their other articles might have come from. It turned out that plagiarism made up most of their content, even from well-known food-centric celebrities like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen. The magazine then closed, complete with a snide, passive-aggressive goodbye note.
  • Men's Fitness once posted an article after New York Comic-Con 2011 entitled "Flabby Versions of Your Favorite Superheroes!", which had nothing but snide, disrespectful remarks aimed at Cosplayers in attendance for, essentially, being human beings at a Fan Convention (two actual NYPD officers were similarly attacked for being overweight). Outrage from the cosplay community was as predictable as the damn tides, especially when MF complained about people not being able to take a joke. The article eventually disappeared from their website (It's still online on the article writer's website, though), and discussion of the article on their Facebook page along with it.
  • Veja, Brazil's equivalent of Time, published an article where the author compared gay marriage to a relationship with a goat. Needless to say, nobody took this lightly - with particularly hilarious results when every single link on the magazine's Facebook page got comments referencing goats.

  • In quite possibly the most hilarious example ever, Walmart was holding a contest where a local Walmart with the most fans on its Facebook page by a certain date would be visited by rapper Pitbull. This was done in an attempt to create a community with each store and its customers. The idea backfired on them when the Internet found out about this and in a campaign called "Exile Pitbull", proceeded to amass likes for a Walmart located in the remote town of Kodiak, Alaska. The best part? Walmart Kodiak wound up with the most fans by that date, and since they and Pitbull were good sports about it, he indeed visited the store, accompanied by David Thorpe, one of the prank's ringleaders. So in summary, the Internet just banished Pitbull to Alaska!
  • Justin Bieber held a poll to determine where he would hold a concert. When 4chan caught wind of this, they swarmed the poll with votes... for North Korea. In the end, Bieber didn't go through with it and the whole thing was cancelled.
  • Taylor Swift held a poll to decide which school she should go perform to. 4chan and Reddit assumed control of the poll by swarming it with votes for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. It simultaneously fired and backfired as Swift removed the school from the poll but, acknowledging the 4channers and Redditors' pranking efforts, donated $50,000, musical instruments and concert tickets to it, for which school principal Jeremiah Ford declared: "Are we the winner? Absolutely." In shorthand, the Internet (accidentally) gave a selfless gift to a school for deaf people!
  • Hiroshi Matsumoto and the hide estate. As mentioned on the Flame War page, he was at best a Pointy-Haired Boss and negligent as hide's manager, to the point of arguably sharing responsibility for hide's death out of said negligence. When he took over the estate after hide's death, he quickly set about turning hide into a Cash Cow Franchise in a process that at first seemed legitimate enough (releasing his unreleased singles, doing a few compilations and memorial events) but soon enough turning "hide" and "LEMONED" into the exact opposite of what hide had intended both to be - cheap meaningless crap with little or no specific inspiration or artistic value. Then the lawsuits began - he began suing people and threatening lawsuits over petty issues of hide's "image" or "tribute" and demanding financial cuts of even hide covers or fan works - while happily mooching ideas and imagery from the fan and fan artist community.

    The issues finally began to come to a head over 2009 to 2013 - first, Hiroshi sued Yoshiki Hayashi and X Japan for using hide's image, despite Yoshiki having bought out some of the rights, and never mind it was the band hide had become famous with and hide himself had been entirely okay with Yoshiki using footage of him when he was still alive. Yoshiki countersued and fought back in court (with the judge in the matter even calling Hiroshi's filing a Frivolous Lawsuit and barring him from further suits over use of hide's image by bands hide had worked with) and this began part of the Internet Counterattack - a fair amount of Yoshiki fans were angry enough to post rants and begin a boycott of Hiroshi Matsumoto and the official hide estate and spread the info about just how negligent and unconcerned Hiroshi had seemed to be for anything from his brother except money.

    The counterattack only became bigger when, in 2013, Hiroshi licensed the song Pink Spider not to a Visual Kei or rock artist but to Koda Kumi, who proceeded to drown it in Auto-Tune and replace the guitar work with mediocre DJ spinning. While it's not as open as it was immediately after the Koda Kumi cover got announced, a fair amount of hide fans will still give you an earful about Hiroshi and/or redirect you to places to pirate anything official.
  • Streetlight Manifesto have a long history with their label, Victory Records. Most recently, their Magnum Opus, The Hands That Thieve was delayed six months. Then, the acoustic version, The Hand That Thieves was completely halted, and the band was prevented from selling copies of both. Finally, the official music video for "With Any Sort Of Certainty" was taken off YouTube (although obviously it's still circling around). In response the band has more-or-less officially allowed piracy of their work, and if you go to any Streetlight-related article, video, iTunes review, what have you, the top comments will be about how awful Victory Records are and how you shouldn't buy Streetlight Manifesto albums from anywhere but the band's official website.
  • After United Airlines baggage handlers damaged Dave Carroll's Taylor guitar and the company refused to accept responsibility, Carroll got his revenge by recording a song called "United Breaks Guitars" and releasing it on YouTube. As of this writing, it's gotten over 14 million views on YouTube and is now cited as a case study by United Airlines customer service. After United apologized and offered to fly him so he could speak at an internal conference on customer service— they lost his luggage again.
  • On June 11, 2013, 10-year old Sebastian De La Cruz (previously known for his appearances in Season 7 of Americas Got Talent) was asked to sing the national anthem before Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio (Darius Rucker dropped out at the last moment) and afterward was the target of multiple racist emails/Tweets also aimed at illegal immigrants despite Sebastian being a natural-born American citizen. It was immediately turned into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming by a response flood of Tweets/Facebook posts/petitions that he be brought back to perform the anthem for Game 4, which the NBA and San Antonio Spurs agreed.

  • During the News of the World phone hacking scandal, LulzSec managed to get into the newspaper's website and replace it with a spoof story about Rupert Murdoch's (imaginary) death.
  • A May 30, 2013 opinion piece written by Christopher Swindell for the WV Gazette got a lot of backlash for its extremely anti-NRA slant. Swindell labels the NRA message as "knuckle-dragging Cretan talk" and NRA folks as traitors advocating "armed rebellion against the duly elected government of the United States of America". He also devotes a section of the essay comparing the NRA to the Confederacy and ridicules the organization's dispute with President Barack Obama by insinuating racism on their part on account of the President being an African-American. Swindell ends by gleefully maintaining that the NRA rebels will find themselves using their rifles against the American military's tanks, fighter jets and missiles. Swindell ended up getting into a one-man Flame War against hundreds and hundreds of angry readers in the Facebook comments section of the article.

    Video Games 
  • Electronic Arts
    • Dragon Age II was notorious for a huge PR disaster that was ignited when a user on the Bioware Social Forums was banned by EA for harshly criticizing the game. Irate users went on Metacritic and downvoted the game en masse (to the same rating that Gamespot gave to Hyperdimension Neptunia, a 3/10) and mocked the moderator who banned the user in question.
      • And things got worse from there, especially when someone found the twitter feed of Jennifer Hepler, one of the writers, and things crossed the line into personal attacks on her physique based around comments she had made years prior wishing for an option to skip combat in favor of story. Things got out of control fast to the point that people sent death threats targeting her family.
    • Mass Effect:
    • Many gamers cried out in rage when it was revealed that DRM would be included on copies of Spore. The anger was so great at EA that negative buzz was widely proliferated, leading to more than 2,000 1-star reviews on Amazon... six months before the game was even released. Most of these reviewers admitted that they had never played the game before, but according to them, the DRM system (based on systems that made problems before, and bringing with it restrictive activation requirements) automatically knocked the game down to 1-star, whether or not they would ever go on to play it. The game ended up being the most pirated game of 2008, and resulted in EA being hit with two lawsuits from irate users. However, it did force EA to lighten up on DRM for their following titles. That is until 2013's SimCity as detailed below.
    • The 2013 SimCity got off to a, at best, rocky launch due to the game's online requirements. EA and Maxis representatives repeatedly claimed that this was due to most of the gameplay being handled by the cloud computing. Hackers quickly found out that these claims were false as they were able to run the game offline perfectly and found the servers only handled the actual multiplayer side. EA and Maxis's PR-speak heavy responses did nothing to subside the rage. As of 2014, an official offline mode has been announced, but this wound up being too little too late as, online requirements aside, most players just plain didn't like the game very much. John Riccitiello stepped down after the debacle.
    • Then there is the whole case of being sent from the Internet not one but two Golden Poos at The Consumerist's yearly worst company in America contest by landslides due to an organized campaign by irate fans. Yes, they have been named the worst company, even over corporations (which shall not be named) wracked by scandals and corruption, convicted of crimes, having exploitative labor policies or known to have committed actual human rights abuses up to and including war profiteering. And they've won this twice. Talk about a Take That. Needless to say, people hell-bent on naming EA's main rivals the worst in the worst company competition were furious. In 2014, these people succeeded by denying EA a third Golden Poo, if only because there was Always a Bigger Fish that year in the form of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger monopoly and its potential ramifications on net neutrality.
      • Not a company to leave well enough alone, EA also created an official blog post regarding how unfair it was that they got the poos, saying that they were more intensely targeted due to their internet-user demographic (as opposed to... every other large entertainment company ever) and even went as far as to say that the only reason they "won" was because anti-LGBT groups voted them for allowing Gay Options in their games.
  • Capcom has been the victims of a lot of this lately for several poor, some would say suicidal business decisions.
    • The most upfront being how they cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 after allowing fans to get involved in the development progress via a forum and blog run entirely by the dev team. At the same time, they announced on their European Twitter account that not enough fans got involved, and people didn't care about the game. The fan rage was immediate, unprecedented in scale and resulted in sales of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 dropping 80% as a result.
    • After hearing about the game's cancellation, Keiji Inafune even offered to finish the game by staying on as a contractor so that he finish the game as well as other projects he started, as did CyberConnect2. They were both shot down.
    • Things only worsened when Capcom unveiled the roster of the upcoming Ultimate MvC3 only a week later. Fans hoping that Mega Man (who was absent from the vanilla edition) would be added as an apology for Legends 3's cancellation were let down once again, and the flames grew even higher. Capcom would later release Mega Man a DLC skin for Zero. Most fans were unsatisfied and a great many of them saw that as merely a slap in the face.
    • In what is perhaps the worst case of bad timing imaginable the Joke Character in Street Fighter X Tekken is "Bad Box Art Mega Man," the infamous Off Model, American Kirby Is Hardcore pistol toting picture of Mega Man from the original game's horrible NA box art. Worse, his backstory was almost exactly the same as the protagonist of the cancelled Legends games. This was planned a while in advance, with Inafune's help, but trying to pull it off this hot on the heels of previous missteps wrecked Capcom's chances of living them down.
      • Some people hacked Street Fighter X Tekken for Xbox 360 and found that the 12 characters that were going to be DLC for $20/1600 MSP as well as the supposedly PS3-exclusive Bad Box Art Mega Man and Pac-Man were already on the (Xbox 360) disc. Capcom then made a statement that they would be trying to ban the people who did this and left some kind of communication so that more people can report this happening. Nothing much has happened yet, but according to most of the reactions siding with the hackers, well, this could get really ugly; fast.
      • Capcom eventually stated that Mega Man and Pac-Man are indeed PS3/VITA exclusives. The fact that they are in the XBOX 360 disc? Despite the fact that they are as functional as their PS3 counterparts, Capcom addressed them as "residual data", and stated that they will not allow them to be unlocked on the XBOX 360 version. Hoo boy.
      • Capcom came out and said they see no distinction between downloadable content and disc-locked content. Fueling the already massive fires.
    • Capcom Preview Piggybacking the demo for Resident Evil 6 into Dragon's Dogma had many fans decrying it as a poor business move because it seemed like a money grab.
      • And of course, yet more disc-locked content was discovered on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of RE6 shortly after its release. Perhaps as a move to avoid a repeat of the aforementioned SFxT DLC debacle, Capcom elected to release this content without charge.
    • DmC Devil May Cry, hoo boy. While the real-life reaction to this Continuity Reboot at its live unveiling was already overwhelmingly negative, the internet absolutely blew up for everything from its Trolling Creator including multiple Take That's directed at fans of the original series, and what fans perceived to be downright offensive content. Hilariously, the sheer amount of fan hate, both online and off, caused the creator to release DLC to make Dante look like Devil May Cry 3's version of Dante.
  • 2K Games
    • Christoph Hartmann, the President of 2K Games, gave a interview where he defended X-COM 's reboot Genre Shift from Strategy to FPS, stating that Strategy games are not contemporary (outdated) and gave an analogue that Ray Charles would have updated his music style to that of Kanye West rap to keep up with the times. Within the hour, everybody on the internet pointed out that 2K Games was a publisher for Civilization, a series that gave a nice profit, and that Turn-Based Strategy games were thriving on consoles and handhelds courtesy of Disgaea, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics and others. The Ray Charles and Kanye West analogue pretty much pissed off everybody, even making those who didn't see why the fans were angry over the Genre Shift finally understand why. The first X-COM game to come out since that interview was XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which was actually was a strategy game and found modest success, while the FPS went back to the backburner to be revamped into the 2013 TPS spin-off game The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
      • On a sidenote, one of the major trailers of Enemy Unknown has the words "From the makers of Civilization comes the game about the end of civilization". Talk about trying to emphasize Type 1 damage control...
    • Borderlands 2 got hit with this due to 2K's sudden decision to force region lock on language and multiplayer for the Russian region. While this was common for many previous titles and always caused a great deal of rage from the players, there were two key differences...
      • First, it was a preorder with full language support listed in its features.
      • Second, several ex-Soviet countries got locked to Russian language as well despite not having Russian as a national language.
      • The ensuing backlash with a massive number of refunded preorders forced 2K to review their policies, so both Borderlands 2 and the aforementioned X-COM strategy game became non-locked releases.
  • Activision
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was a juggernaut on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but many fans were wary of the PC version's multiplayer component, especially in light of announcements made by Infinity Ward and Activision that many features (that were standard to all other PC games) would be changed or removed. The removal of dedicated servers, the ability to lean and the reduction of players who could participate in each match ticked people off to no end before the game was released. When MW2 came out, and IW gloated that their anti-cheat software would make the game impossible to screw around with, hackers across the world took their statement as a personal challenge. Less than a week after the game debuted, various hackers broke through the source code, unlocked dedicated servers, gave players to chance to instantly reach the level cap (Prestige) after one kill, brought back the lean ability, and opened up the command console and unlocked gameplay modes that hadn't even been released yet. The cracked version of the game has more functionality than the console version, and the servers ended up being filled with cheaters and griefers trying to ruin the experience for everyone else. Needless to say, dedicated servers were reinstated for all subsequent Call of Duty games on PC.
    • World of Warcraft fans had an epic three day war with the reveal of the RealID feature. While it was presented as an improved means of communication while playing recent games made by Blizzard Entertainment, it was a very touchy subject due to the personal info required for its use. With the announcement that the service was to be made mandatory in order to make new posts on their forums... the playerbase, naturally, exploded. The backlash was epic in proportions. It hit about 300 pages within around 5 hours of the original post. Within a day, it had over 1500 pages (and was locked at almost 2500 pages, with an additional 700 pages in its sister thread on the European forums). Not only this, but several news websites decided the uproar was worth a story. The last thing, a Blizzard employee, community manager Bashiok, posted his own full name as a show of good faith, and was quickly hunted down IRL and harassed mercilessly by irate players. Blizzard employees have since been made exempt from the changes, citing "privacy concerns". Naturally, after three days of insanity, the decision was revoked, and the fandom rejoiced. Apparently, the only thing that convinced Activision to back down was the rash of players who actually canceled their accounts this time.
  • Nintendo
    • Nintendo of America once commented that they had no plans to release Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandora's Tower in North America due to localization costs and non-interest from the gaming community. This led to Operation Rainfall, a fan petition to get them to reverse their stance. Among other things, the group drove Xenoblade to number one on the Amazon game pre-orders list (under its working title "Monado: Beginning of the World"), spammed the company's Twitter and Facebook pages into oblivion and sent off hundreds of angry letters to the Nintendo of America offices. All three games ended up being localized.
    • Nintendo announcing the Wii U exclusivity of Bayonetta 2 resulted in angry fans bombarding Platinum Games with messages demanding that it be brought to other consoles as well. So far, Platinum has not relented, due to Nintendo funding the game after Sega cut their funding and originally canceled the game.
    • Nintendo has created another massive firestorm after quietly announcing that they'll be taking possession of all YouTube Ad revenue from gameplay videos. This includes not just legal gray areas like Lets Plays, but things such as reviews (which would be protected under fair use) and press videos. The internet caught fire as a result. Nintendo ended this policy just as quietly some time after the announcement (so quietly in fact that many gaming sites haven't reported about it) and in late May 2014, they are planning to set up an affiliate program on YouTube to split revenue with content creators that utilize Nintendo's IP's.
    • A firestorm over region locking has occurred against Nintendo for being the last one of the big three to still region lock their products to some degree after Sony announced the PlayStation 4 will be region free and Microsoft reversed their earlier plans for region locking/DRMing the Xbox One. Iwata has stated Nintendo still region locks many of their products not for business reasons, but for legal and cultural reasons. However fans/critics continue to hold Nintendo's feet to the fire to try forcing them to drop region locking.
    • When Balloon Fight was released as the first Wii U Virtual Console game, European users were given the inferior 50Hz version rather than the 60Hz version released in North America and Japan. The European Miiverse community had more complaints about the conversion than comments talking about the game itself. In response, the next game F-Zero was released in 60Hz.
    • On July 9, 2013, word had gotten out that Nintendo had - for whatever reason - denied EVO the right to stream their Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament. The retribution was swift and immediate, and several protests, petitions, and not more than three hours later, Nintendo had reversed their decision. The next year, Reggie declared his support for EVO.
    • When it announced that Pokémon Bank, the companion app for Pokémon X and Y, was to be delayed until further notice due to server crashes, fans were outraged. As a response, several people proceeded to flood Nintendo's and Pokémon's Twitter and Facebook pages with demands for Pokémon Bank to be released. With Gamefreak remaining silent over the situation, fans grew very impatient. Since this was necessary to transfer Pokémon from the Generation V games to X and Y, it only made the people even more angry.
  • Sony
    • "All I want for Xmas is a PSP" was a website that had a pair of kids rapping about how much they wanted a PSP for Christmas. Naturally, some people who saw the video smelled something fishy. As it turns out, it was posted by Sony, and the Internet responded with anger. Sony eventually fessed up, saying "Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony."
    • Sony would find themselves in another unsettling scenario with the Playstation 4. A report said that Sony was contemplating to use some form of digital rights management (DRM) to control or limit access to used games. Fans viciously protested on Twitter. It worked, possibly in response to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Microsoft's new policy on used games (which they then backpedaled on in response; see the immediate bullet point below). And There Was Much Rejoicing.
  • Microsoft has received a ton of this from its fans after the reveal of the Xbox One (from the inability to play used games without an additional fee to the reveal simply talking about the media possibilities of the console that aren't about games). This video from Angry Joe explains just a few of the fans' complaints.
    • Adam Orth, former creative director for Microsoft, had posted on his Twitter account to respond to the criticism that the Xbox One would require a constant internet connection for it to work. Adam basically defended the idea and then posted some weak responses to people that kept blasting him for defending a terrible idea. He then told everyone to "deal with it", which yielded instant lambasting. This caused Microsoft to quietly terminate Adam while publicly responding to the outcries by saying Adam's statements don't represent the company's ideas and stances.
    • And another counterattack started AGAIN against Microsoft at E3 2013, when during the presentation of the new Killer Instinct, one presenter uttered the line "just let it happen, it'll be over soon," to the other during a fighting game. The internet interpreted this as an off-color rape joke and responded in kind.
    • Don Mattrick's, former head of the Xbox division, tone-deaf pronouncements to GT TV's Geoff Keighley, in which he claimed that everyone had a solid internet connection these days and even insulted fans by stating they should just stick with the Xbox 360 if they did not.
    • And then, on June 19th, 2013, Microsoft finally gave in. Following a mocking on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and being blasted by the press, Microsoft recanted on their policies.
  • The War Z, a DayZ Mockbusting Dolled-Up Installment of War Inc, outright labels itself as an Obvious Beta in-game, was marketed with Blatant Lies on its Steam store page (which the developers are hellbent on defending to hell and back), introduced a extended revival period that required a micropayment for immediate resurrection, something usually unheard of in a game people already paid money for, and made DayZ creator Rocket depressed, due to basically everything mentioned here (especially the Mockbuster aspect). These caused such a severe backlash that it was pulled from Steam... temporarily.
  • NC Soft decided to shut down the MMORPG City of Heroes. Shortly thereafter (in financial terms), the company's stock has dropped 40%, at least in part due to the fans saying, 'Nope, we'll have no more of this.' Plus, when Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon, and Neil Gaiman - as well as a good number of others - join in a protest against your company, you have done something horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Fans were not happy with the roster for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, where despite it being larger than the first All-Stars Racing, had fewer franchise representation (at least on the console version) and addressed the Smurfette Principle in the first game by putting in a few sidekick female charactersnote  and real-life racer Danica Patrick. Steve Lycett, head of Sumo Digital, challenged the fans on the official SEGA Forums to gather votes—he would propose DLC characters if at least three requested characters receive at least a thousand votes, intending it to be a lesson in the difficulty of getting characters approved. The polls, in the form of petitions, received mention all over the gaming press, including Jeux France, Kotaku, and IGN, and in the end, 7 characters received a four-digit vote count, including female protagonists Bayonetta and Hatsune Miku. Having eaten his words, Lycett pitched all 7 characters to SEGA and got the approval to release the top winner, Ryo Hazuki.
  • Ubisoft has been on the receiving end of this when they was announced in February 2013 that the highly anticipated Wii U exclusive Rayman Legends, previously delayed from a November 2012 release and slated to be released that very month, was going to get a multiplatform release for the Xbox 360 and PS3. That didn't really seem too bad at first... until they also announced that all versions (including the Wii U version) of the game were set for a September 2013 release. Meaning that the Wii U version - which was practically finished by that time and was just about to hit stores - was going to delayed again for another seven months. The facts that the game is planned to be released during a season when many triple-A titles will be released at that time (including the much anticipated Grand Theft Auto V) and the developers ended up overworking to meet the February deadline for naught only added fuel to the quickly spreading wildfire of criticism. Even Matthew Taranto, the usually happy-go-lucky creator of Brawl in the Family, decided to write an angry rant about the situation. The game ended up selling as well as one would expect in such a situation — but still saw its strongest sales on the Wii U.
    • Previously, Ubisoft experienced a strong backlash from PC gamers when an executive, defending their move towards free-to-play, claimed PC piracy of their products was around 93-95%. This was likely confusion on his part with the fact that 93-95% of F2P gamers do not make in-game purchases, but he allowed the comment to stand and fester. Combined with their restrictive DRM method, which also created potential security exploits when installed, Ubisoft earned a great deal of anger. Eventually they made amends by reducing their DRM to minimal levels for the PC and have made claims of trying to focus on it as an important market.
    • In 2014, Valiant Hearts received one on the website ("Videogames Dot Com"), the biggest videogame database and community of the French Internet. Some people speculated that George have been taken out of the game (see Demoted to Extra on the game's page) with the intent of releasing later a DLC containing the true ending of the game (despite nor future new chapter neither DLC having been announced), in which George would be playable. It leads a lot of people to give the game the lowest grade allowed on the websitenote , while those reviews could basically summarised by "I don't play this game, but I give it a 0 because they removed one of the playable characters in order to sell the ending as a DLC" (said unfair reviews have been eventually deleted). The fact that the game have been made as some companion to the commemorations for World War One beginning probably explains why gamers have been so furious to the idea of a DLC for this specific game.
  • Wild Games Studio, the makers of Day One: Garry's Incident were lit aflame across the internet after they took down, TotalBiscuit's review of the game for "monetizing someone else's property." when it reality it seemed like nothing else but censorship. Aside from the video being protected by fair use as a review; the devs actually gave TB a free copy with the implication they knew who he was and what he did. TB himself made a point of mentioning that no less than four monetized videos — each as popular as his with at least one bluntly calling it crap — were left up. Only a few hours later it was revealed that the president of the company helped push his game over the kickstarter limit by paying at least 1,000 dollars out of his own pocket, and also the possibility he bribed Valve employees to approve the game on Greenlight. Petitions to have it removed from Steam similar to The War Z quickly followed, as well as a massive drop in the quality of reviews and nothing but hate from reviewers and their fanbases. (Ironically, TB himself was content to let them burn as-is, and thinks the petition to have it taken down is unneeded.)
  • When Valve did not put up the said-in-2012-to-be-annual Diretide Halloween game mode in Dota 2 in 2013 with zero words as to why, the game's player base went absolutely ballistic and irate by consistenly calling Valve "Volvo"note , bombing the game on Metacritic, barraging any official Valve communication channel with requests for Diretidenote , spamming “༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Give DIRETIDE” (emoticon included) absolutely everywhere possible on the Internet (including Barack Obama's Facebook page, for some reason) and jokingly bugging the actual Volvo on Facebook and Twitter and with prank calls about Diretide.note  It took 8 days past Halloween of assaults for Valve to break the silence and admit they goofed in communications skills and being late at giving Diretide.
  • Early in the funding period of Mighty No. 9, a lady named Dina posted to the comments page at the Kickstarter, suggesting that for sake of gender representation, that Beck should be female. On top of this, she included a radical redesign of Beck. This was largely ignored, save for the odd bit of ridicule—until she got a position as a community manager and a designer at Comcept LLC. Then her Twitter feed was discovered, revealing, among other things, that she was pretty much unfamiliar with the Mega Man franchise, that her boyfriend worked at Comcept LLC, and that she had very strong political beliefs, especially regarding political correctness. These revelations did not sit well with the backers—there was suspicion of nepotism at play, and many were worried she would attempt to shoehorn her politics into what was supposed to be a straightforward Spiritual Successor. Others felt her art style would be sorely out-of-place in the game, or that her qualifications for this job were dubious, given her coworkers were seasoned professionals with work on several prior Mega Man games. Couple this with Dina locking and then deleting large chunks of her twitter feed, and the dev forum was in a brief frenzy.
  • In 2011, a Starcraft 2 player and trainer named Destiny was the target of DDOS attacks for several months, until he managed to get into contact with the attacker, who tried to blackmail him. However, Destiny managed to pull the attacker's IP and forwarded it to one of his friends, who managed to not only pull the attacker's name, contact information, and address, but the names and phone numbers of all of his immediate relatives as well. After making a call to the attacker to taunt him, Destiny got into contact with the attacker's father, who promised that his son would not do anything like this again. Destiny has not had a single DDOS attack since.
  • Candy Crush Saga developer King Inc., in an ill-advised effort to protect their IP, applied to trademark the word "Candy". Since said word is extremely common, and King was already abusing their trademark by threatening games that otherwise had nothing to do with matching three sweets (Including The Banner Saga, of all things), people naturally got pissed off to the point of creating a "Candy Jam", inviting people to make their own games with "Candy" and/or "Saga" in the title. After all this, King finally relented and withdrew its trademark for the word in the United States.
  • Attempted and most likely subverted in Star Trek Online. The head dev, Al "CaptainGeko" Rivera, was talking to STOked Radio about the recent changes to its Duty Officer UI and mentioned that he can't actively use subjective feedback (re: "It sucks. I don't like it.") to improve it for the player base and that it was actually hard to sift through the complaints and ranting to find the actual, genuine feedback in the feedback threads. This lead to the assumption that Rivera was absolutely refusing to listen to any negative feedback and that he wouldn't change his "baby", leading to some "high-profile" players to walk away. Some of the posters on the official forums cheered over finding out that Rivera cancelled his appearance at the upcoming Star Trek Las Vegas convention, believing that Rivera was punished for his actions. When this was brought up to the Reddit forums, however, they called "bullshit", wanted names of the "high-profile" players and proof that Rivera's cancellation was connected to the walkings, which never materialized. Even more, Rivera never cancelled and he was there to introduce Star Trek Online's second expansion, Delta Rising.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has housing available to only Free Companies (people who are in a formed group like a guild), but Word Of God said that they had plans for individual players to get their own homes and have the same benefits with it like the Free Companies do with their houses and had stated that individual homes would be affordable. Several months later, individual housing was released, but the costs were anything BUT affordable (small homes go for several million gil!). The price for a home to be used by a lone player was exactly the same as a Free Company house and they also share the same zones rather than having their own zone. The fan base exploded, claiming that they were lied to and that Square-Enix only caters to the rich 1% of the player base and some people even petitioned to have Yoshida, the game's producer, be forcefully resigned for his mistake. Yoshida responded to the outbursts by saying that he never actually meant that individual homes would be easy to come by and had only said they'd be the time he had made that statement when the player economy was different. What also makes the problem worse is all the small houses were immediately bought out as soon as the patch went live, which screwed over everyone else that were simply not awake at the time of the patch being released. Needless to say, many people cancelled their subscriptions as a form of protest.

    Web Original 
  • Amazingly 4chan, the Wretched Hive of the Internet, isn't always what some people make it out to be. As hard as it may be to believe, they will shoot you if it feels you've passed their warped version of the Moral Event Horizon:
    • Traditionally, asking for kiddie porn or Rule 34 of Yotsuba&! results in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • They enjoy mass-trolling of white supremacist radio shows, specifically Hal Turner and Ghost.
    • Don't mess with Mr. Rogers. Or hurt cats. Hurting cats is sometimes stuff like what gave rise to the NEDMnote  meme (which was lighting a cat on fire and letting it burn to death). This is possibly because of LO Lcats. Anyway, they tracked down the guy who burned the cat and brought him to justice.
    • There was another incident where Anonymous picked up on a news story about an old woman who refused to give candy to trick-or-treaters whose parents voted for Barack Obama, found her phone number, and harassed the bejeesus out of her.
    • There was also a case of a woman who pressed charges for trespassing against a pair of girls who gave pies they'd baked to everybody in the neighborhood. Anonymous soon discovered a way to send the real-life equivalent of a Spam Attack: sending free shipping material to the woman's house, so that she was overwhelmed with cardboard boxes.
    • On September 22, 2010, the Indian company Aiplex Software admitted that it was conducting DDoS attacks against popular torrent sites to fight software piracy. Cue Anonymous and 4chan conducting Operation Payback, an IIRC-coordinated joint DDoS retaliation against Aiplex and the MPAA, knocking their servers out of commission for 24 and 22 hours, respectively.
    • Witness /b/ getting a teenager arrested for threatening to bomb his school. 4chan may be malicious but they tend to quickly report any crime that can threaten the physical safety of others; you can pick on them on the Internet but the second an Internet Tough Guy physically backs up the threats they are quick to call authorities since this will legitimately get them shut down.
    • And then there's Project Chanology. It's mellowed out over the years, but it's still ongoing.
    • On the 4th of July 2014, members of Tumblr's userbase, after months of planning, tried to shut down 4chan. This largely amounted to spamming /b/ with posts and threads relevant to Tumblr's feminist and activist communities, among which 4chan had a reputation as a Wretched Hive. While that could be described as a modest failure at best, /b/'s response was prompt and vehement—lurkers proceeded to set up accounts to set up image after image straight out of shock sites on several very popular tags on Tumblr (particularly the aforementioned social justice ones). Rumors scapegoating 4chan for everything from trying to dupe users into making mustard gas to sabotaging Dashcon (see below) from the inside circulated online for weeks.
  • Anonymous has made this their reason d'etre, as they actively rebel against anyone who stirs up the internet. They once launched attacks on Mastercard and Visa after the two companies ceased handling donations for WikiLeaks. Following this, the CEO of a computer security company called HB Gary tried to determine the true names of the Anons involved in that attack through borderline-illicit means. Thinking he'd done so, he was stupid enough to announce this fact to Anonymous and went on to say that he was going to sell said names to the FBI note . Anonymous's response to this was... well, let's just say that "humiliated" would be a massive understatement. The resultant attack resulted in the company losing millions of dollars and subsequently being bought out.
    • A dourly unsuccessful example would be when Anonymous tried to taken on the Zetas drug cartel by revealing the names of Zetas members. The cartel then threatened to kill 10 people for every name revealed, as well as one Mexican member they had kidnapped. Anonymous backed down, and the kidnapped man was freed.
    • In January 2012, the Feds shut down the file-hosting website after several of the site's employees were arrested on charges similar to those that would be leveled against those arrested under SOPA and PIPA (see below) if they passed into law. Hours later, Anonymous attacked the websites of government and recording industries in retaliation of the shutdown, which came right on the heels of the SOPA/PIPA protests the day before.
    • Earlier than that, there was Operation Darknet, carried out against a child pornography website operating under an anonymous network. Anonymous themselves were disgusted that such a thing could exist, and tried to get the server to take down the site. The people running the servers vehemently refused, and Anonymous took matters into their own hands. Warning shots were made by posting To Catch a Predator clips, several DDOS attacks, and then Anonymous found over a thousand names on the site and exposed them to the FBI and Interpol.
    • There was one event where Anonymous managed to hack into a "secure" teleconference between the FBI and Scotland Yard and listen in on the entire conversation. The reason for the conference? To figure out how to gauge the threat of and counter hacker groups like Anonymous.
    • Anonymous once tried to take on the Westboro Baptist Church with a clash in early 2011 that amounted to nothing more than trolling with little damage on both sides. Much later in late 2012, when the former learned of the latter's plan to picket the funerals of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, Anonymous decided that the Moral Event Horizon has been crossed and immediately went thermonuclear on the Church, beginning with a leak of the personal information of several Westboro members, a DDOS attack, a petition to legally brand the Church as a hate group and the hacking of spokeperson Shirley Phelps-Roper's Twitter account. While the petition failed, the US congress revealed that though they couldn't legally take away a church's protection of separation of church and state, it was possible for protesting to be declared illegal within a certain radius of certain events on a state-by-state basis, which many states including Westboro's home state immediately enacted. That means that, in the states they scourged the most, WBC members have to be so far away from funerals it's likely people won't even know what they're protesting, and any attempt to get closer will end in arrest.
    • There was also the case in Steubenville, Ohio where two members of the city's high school football team kidnapped, raped and drugged a 16-year-old girl (although several members also took part), video-taped the the whole thing and then bragged about it on the video and Twitter. Once Anonymous caught wind of the incident, they fought back, starting with leaks of the video of the incident, leaks of personal info of those who participated the event, a DDOS attack on the football team's site and a protest demanding justice for the girl and protesting the coverup of the incident by local authorities and the school's football team. This singlehandely elevated coverage of the case from local level to national level.
      • Sadly, this has not had the happiest ending, as the person declared most responsible for leaking said information in the first place currently faces more jail time than the rapists were sentenced to.
  • The infamous AOL script kiddie manipulation program "AOHell" was created due to a backlash against the service because, inexplicably, they weren't trying to stop the proliferation of pedophilia & child pornography themed chat rooms started by members. This was in spite of their normally overbearing censorship tactics that included censoring the words "breast" (even in a cancer survivors forum, forcing them to refer to their yabbo cancer) and "horsemen" (because it ends with "semen") in profiles and on message boards.
  • Fictional example: Cerberus Daily News takes the Internet Counterattack Up to Eleven. A poster named Discord tried to sell slaves on the forum, enraging pretty much everyone. Unfortunately for him, about a third of CDN posters are mercenaries. He was killed in a coordinated assault on his compound.
    • Repeated later on. It was leaked that an Eclipse affiliated member was taking part in finishing a colony's civil war, massacring the few surviving civilians holding out in the northern reaches. The response to this was a joint member assault fleet storming the planet, crippling Eclipse orbital elements including their flagship, and successfully evacuating all survivors within hours of arrival.
  •'s list of eight awesome cases of internet vigilantism.
  • spawned a hoax about then Fox News personality Glenn Beck by asking why he hadn't addressed the rumor of whether or not Beck had raped and murdered a girl in 1990. note . The hoax spawned a website, and spread to other sites such as Reddit, Digg and Google. Beck then filed a WIPO arbitration case regarding the domain name, which eventually resulted in the arbitrator finding for the website creator, citing that it was parody protected by the first amendment. The original fark thread is here.
  • In June 2011, blogging website LiveJournal installed a feature that revealed the city and country a poster was living in. The immediate backlash, mostly from role-players, some of their biggest supporters, caused them to back down and reverse their decision. A few months later, LiveJournal did it again by modifying the code to rid themselves of spammers, which resulted in blocked users being allowed back on the site.
    • In December 2011, when they decided to change the comment layout, removing subject headers from the comment pages and the ability to preview their posts, among others. Not only did people from both ends of LJ's community lash out, but at least one person made mention that the lack of subject headers led to a horrible breakdown due to trigger issues! Due to these changes, many people action pulled up their stakes and walked to other journal services including Dreamwidth and InsaneJournal, including a vast number of Journal Roleplay games.
  • The Nostalgia Critic posted a review of The Room on That Guy with the Glasses that was one of the most anticipated reviews ever. A few hours later, it was mysteriously taken down from the site. When people found out that it was because someone at Wiseau Films filed a copyright claim even though the review is protected by Fair Use laws... let's just say that Wiseau Films' website was inaccessible for some time thereafter. The fans sent thousands of hate mails to Wiseau Films, hacked their site, ridiculed the company in various posts around the Internet and some even threatened to sue them in turn for violating Critic's right of Fair Use. The review subsequently returned to the main site and to this day, Tommy Wiseau is still mocked among both the fans and the That Guy team.
  • A Reddit user once posted how Telltale Games had, according to him, borrowed his custom Jurassic Park Jeep and damaged it while transporting it to a gaming convention. He posted the name of the employee he believed to be responsible, and the site's gaming board began harassing her. The problem? Said employee wasn't directly responsible for the damage (assuming the story was true, which it might not have been), and had to deal with an enormous amount of hate-filled phone calls and emails, including a rape threat. The lesson here is that you should always do the research before launching an Internet Counterattack.
    • Unfortunately Reddit did it again in April 2013 when they incorrectly named Sunil Tripathi a culprit of the Boston Bombings as a result of organizing their own witch hunt. His family was harassed, and it is speculated that this witch hunt led to his suicide.
      • You'd think that Aaron Swartz's suicide (because he was being harassed by his State) would have prevented this... especially since Swartz was one of Reddit's co-founders.
  • The backlash against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect-IP Act (PIPA). A pair of bills that were meant to fight piracy, but in actuality, could legalize internet Censorship in the US, to the extent that anything that had a single scrap of copyrighted material could be shut down by a company. Once the internet found out about the ramifications of the bill, they fought back. A coalition of companies and organizations made a huge effort to make sure the bills don't pass, and even dedicated the day of the first hearing as American Censorship Day. The Other Wiki (along with other websites such as Reddit, BoingBoing, and the Cheezburger Network) went so far as doing a global blackout on January 18, 2012 in protest of the bills, which was inspired by the Italian Wikipedia, who did the same thing to protest a similar bill in Italy.
    • One of the more interesting moments of this backlash was the GoDaddy Boycott - during the revelation that many people that were said to be in support of the bill actually weren't, GoDaddy was one who stood by the bill's side. In response, a number of sites called for boycotts of the site and many threatened to leave, including the Cheezburger Network (who has over 1,000 domains to their name). GoDaddy initially laughed off the protest, but after a massive number of sites pulled their support, the hosting company quietly withdrew their support.
    • Not to mention that, somehow, even Lamar Smith managed to neuter his own bill - he not only removed the DNS blocking part, but made it so .com, .net and .org websites - yes, the same .org that This Very Wiki is registered under - are immune to the takedown provisions of SOPA. And on the day of the internet blackout, several Congresspeople and lawmakers withdrew their support for the bills.
    • The backdraft got so flaming hot that both bills have been tabled. SOPA has been indefinitely postponed (and is likely dead in its current form) and the vote on PIPA has been cancelled pending review. Keep watching this space for more info as it develops.
    • There was also the fight against ACTA (Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement), a international treaty amounting to SOPA on a global scale. It looked as if it would be passed unnoticed, until the SOPA protests brought it to light in the same fashion. A massive protest was staged to get the European Parliament to vote it down (the last chance to kill the treaty), including more internet blackouts. The end result was ACTA being defeated by 478 to 39 vote.
  • Parodied in this xkcd strip, which shows Stephenie Meyer (the creator of Twilight) making 4chan regret flaming her books.
  • In January 2006, several YTMND users declared war on the controversial humor site eBaum's World over an imagefile that they stole (which consisted of showing the similarities between photographs of Lindsay Lohan), and succeeded in crashing the site. YTMND founder Max Goldberg denounced the attacks as "a vulgar display of power" and stated that would place the site in legal jeopardy. When that was settled, eBaum's World agreed to remove the Lohan picture, and YTMND removed the anti-eBaum's World sites, though there are still some pages that exist.
  • After a customer complained to a company named Ocean Marketing about the fact that they hadn't received a specially-made Playstation 3 controller on time, he were met with an incredibly rude response by the company's PR representative. The customer contacted Penny Arcade's Mike Krahliuk, and when Mike confronted the man, he was insulted by the representative as well (Who didn't realize it was THAT Mike until it was too late). The email exchange between the three parties was posted on PA's website, and spread like wildfire across the internet. Shortly afterwards, the Twitter account for the company was changed to Ocean Strategy, the creators of the controller fired Ocean, and the owner of the company, Paul, backpedaled for all his worth with apologies after a barrage of nasty e-mails. A complete picture of what happened can be found here.
  • Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games has had this happen to it frequently:
    • The ad campaign for this project's crowdfunding included, among other things, starting threads with promotional material and links to the Kickstarter on 4chan, even in boards that had nothing to do with the project. Anita Sarkeesian was almost immediately met with threats, insults, and coordinated efforts against her.
      • The above counterattack got a counterattack of its own, fueled in part by the negative press it received. Supporters of the project began promoting it themselves, openly encouraging as many people as they could to help fund it. Less than a week in, the whole thing, plus stretch goals, was funded. In the end, Sarkeesian made just under one hundred and sixty thousand dollars.
    • When the first few videos were posted, people found out that Sarkeesian was using footage from YouTube playthroughs and Lets Plays without credit (as opposed to capturing the footage herself) and made their disapproval clear. Then, a few months later, an artist discovered that Sarkeesian used her artwork in one of her key promotional materials without asking or crediting her. This caused incredibly heated debate between Sarkeesian's detractors, who considered her behavior selfish at best and fraudulent at worst, and her supporters, who tried fervently to justify it.
    • Sarkessian got a lot of flack from a video people found from 2010 where she said that she didn't like video games and didn't play them frequently. This goes against many of her interviews, where she says she's been playing games since she was a young child. Combined with the stealing of Let's Play footage, some have accused Anita of simply trying to further her personal agenda with no care towards whether or not the industry actually improves.
    • And then Sarkessian pissed off a majority of her own fanbase with her negative comments towards women who are working in the sex industry, saying that anyone in those industries was forced into it. Quite a few of the people who had defended Anita from the above cases of theft turned against her pretty quick.
    • Feminist Frequency has frequently been attacked by people who are wondering where the other one hundred and fifty thousand dollars Sarkessian made has gone- Kickstarter rules prevent her from using it on anything other than what she got the money for (To fund the show, improve production and pay for the games she'd need), yet some have noted that her show has barely improved in quality.
    • In 2014, days after her most recent video had failed to gain over 200k views, she posted on Twitter how she received a death/rape threat on Twitter that detailed where she and her parents lived, which understandably made a lot of people upset for her sake. However, due to the very odd and nonsensical nature of the threat (NSFW link) as well as Anita's response to it (where she nearly instantly afterwards asked for further donations for her website, refused to show any proof of any police report being made against the threat and to this day has remained completely silent about the "Find Kevin Dobson" (The name of the supposed threat sender) hashtag), it made many people believe that she or a friend had in fact faked the threat in order to gain sympathy and publicity, especially when considering the points mentioned above. Making matters worse, this was only days after the infamous Zoe Quinn Scandal, aka Gamergate (which can be read in further detail at the Video Game section), where it was revealed that Anita was an associate of Quinn who has ties to Kotaku, Polygon, The Verge and other Game Journalism sites that reported on the supposed death threat, using the same image that Anita had shown. It's also worth noting that many people would bring up how Zoe Quinn used a similar tactic against Wizardchan. As an icing on the cake, many of the aforementioned sites would remove comments that would question how legit the death threat was or when questioning Anita's odd reaction to the threat. Safe to say, this was the last straw for many of Anita's supporters and detractors.
  • Google's image search has always had three SafeSearch settings for explicit content; Full, Moderate, and Off. At the beginning of 2013, Google quietly removed the Off setting, forcing users into no lower than Moderate. When questioned about the change by users, a Google rep stated that they wanted to ensure that explicit content would not be uncovered unintentionally, so search parameters now need to be more explicit to turn up what the filter blocks. The users didn't bite, since the Full setting did that well enough already and at least gave users the option to choose the level of filtering for themselves. The counterattack quickly followed from users upset that non-explicit results were now being blocked (because the sites hosting them were affiliated with adult content), users who saw the change as an obvious attempt at censorship and Google's "reasons" for the change as Blatant Lies, and users who were just upset that the porn was now harder to get to. Things only went From Bad to Worse once the change spread beyond the US site to other countries as well (especially countries that already have internet censorship to begin with), with thousands of users swearing off Google and switching to its primary competitor, Bing.
  • A Global Emoticon was added to Twitch of the Fursona of an Admin's partner. This was seen as an abuse of power but when people complained about it they found themselves banned. More complaints followed and they were banned and threatened in turn. This included popular streams and people who used Twitch as their sole income source. Eventually the offending Admin was taken off the team and the offending emoticon was confirmed to be against the rules and removed. This happened during the release of the PS 4 and Xbox ONE with their much touted Twitch streaming, only drawing more attention.
  • Around Early December 2013, Youtube's automatic Content-ID match was "updated" to take a much more strict shotgun approach, this resulted in videos made with snippets of songs or games (some as small as five seconds of footage) getting tagged, sending the money to the company instead of the creator or in some cases outright getting the account shut down. Since then multiple people have been flooding Youtube with multiple videos without any borrowed content with them just ranting about the fact that Youtube is blocking everything. That reviews of games are being targeted is (as mentioned above regarding Nintendo) a violation of constitutional rights, opening way the way for irate users and game reviewers to sue Google.
  • The amount of time between a politician saying "I never said that" and a video of said politician saying whatever "that" was appearing on YouTube can be measured in nanoseconds.
  • Part of the old media's obsession with Twitter stems from the fact that it's very good for spreading the word about a story quickly and massively.
  • Blogger Fareed Zakaria once referred to the Corinthians, one of Brazil's biggest teams, as "a small club from Sao Paulo, Brazil". Corinthians fans were simply not amused.
  • A parody site called held a Secret Santa program where people could donate money to them via Paypal so they could send $100 gift cards to needy families. Paypal then froze regretsy's account, because they supposedly weren't allowed to use a "Donate" button due to being a corporation. They were ordered to refund every donated dollar and send Paypal a letter of apology for being deceitful. When the site's head posted this situation, the backlash was huge, and turned Paypal's Facebook page into a battleground. To its credit, Paypal quickly responded by unfreezing the account and actually making direct donations themselves to the intended recipients, but not before enduring 24 hours of being called the devil.
  • The entire "neohacker" movement was made up of anti-pornography Playful Hackers trying to get out a peaceful message. When they were hit with several worms and a massive denial-of-service-attack that eliminated most of their computers, all hell broke loose... the "NHPrime" (original neohacker group) group was a major member of the Hacker Unionist Alliance, and their leader was a personal friend of none other than "silveromega", The Lancer to the founder of that particular (much larger, much more skilled, and much more militant) movement. The assault was tracked to a group of trolls, who were severely warned (according to some versions of the legend, by silver himself breaking in to their computers' BIOS)... but, in one of the greatest displays of Insane Troll Logic OF ALL TIME, they decided to troll the NHPrime IRC and forums, now teeming with black-hat Unionists. One of the founding NHPrime members, "ghost", just so happened to be administrating the forums that day. Cue an extremely sexist remark from one of the Trolls... and let it be known that a certain IP address suddenly found itself receiving and executing enough worms and fork bombs to completely fragment its hard drive and overload the CPU and RAM.
    • The dialogue (bad spelling and grammar replicated) was the best part:
    adm_ghost: You really don't need to be here. You're not accomplishing anything.
    guest (sic): You cant tell me what to do bitch go back to the kitchen and stay there bitch.
    adm_ghost: See, that's the reason that we don't want you here. Go back to your .tk and #chan websites, okay? Good.
    guest (sic): blow me
    adm_ghost: It's things l
    adm_citrus: Dude, listen to her. Seriously, you're not going to look like a dipshit if you turn your tail and run like all hell is behind you. Well, no more of a dipshit than you do now.
    guest (sic): tell your bitch-admn to stay in kitchen, whore shoudl stay in kitchen. you cant do anything to anon were invivincible bitch
    adm_ghost: Next time you think you're so anonymous, try it on a board where I can't see all the guest posters' IP addresses. Same goes if the rest of you get ideas.
    • The porn site that originally counterattacked the NHPrime protest? Their traffic was completely shut down by the Unionists. Both movements dissolved not long after.
  • Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, was served spoiled chicken at a Manhattan restaurant. The manager, gambling that he would leave without a fuss, offered minimal compensation. He got his revenge by posting the restaurant's name and address to the Freakonomics blog. "Last I checked, the roast chicken was still on the menu. Bon appetit."
  • Fire Ball 20 XL, as well as most sites that shared the same domain, was in 2014 undone by one of these. Ever since this post along with a few others was leaked onto Tumblr, it led to dozens of people sharing stories regarding rather horrible experiences at the hands of Bryon Beaubien (aka Psyguy), ranging from abusive relationships (both sexual and non-sexual), pedophilia, manipulation, murder threats, physical and verbal abuse etc. This has only become worse through a case of The Streisand Effect when it was later revealed that Bryon had threatened legal action towards some of the people who shared their stories about him and tried to hide as much of it as possible through copyright claims against Youtube and deletion of evidence of the claims made against him, leading to hundreds of people reblogging and sharing the posts to as many websites as possible wile pretty much doing whatever they could do get back at Bryon for his actions. It has given him and Fireball 20 XL a bad reputation in many circles to say the least.
  • In August, rumors circulated that Google would be purchasing Twitch.TV for a massive billion dollars. A few days later, a copyright ID system similar to the one mentioned above started popping up that completely muted the Video-On-Demand recordings if it detected third party copyrighted music. While this was actually planned well in advance by twitch, the similarity to Youtube's own content ID mess and the purchase turned this into a case of worst timing ever. In response, hundreds of streamers and potentially thousands of their viewers moved to Hitbox.TV, Twitch's now quickly rising competition. Eventually it was confirmed that Twitch wouldn't be selling itself to Google, but Amazon instead, making the entire mess irrelevant but not cooling the heads of people angry about muted VoDs.

     Western Animation 
  • A source of HUGE backlash spawned in regards to the fandom character "Derpy Hooves" from the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The controversy in general revolves around said character's edit from her original appearance in the episode "The Last Roundup" to something less offensive. note  One of the supporters of the edit, Yamino of Sister Claire (and of deviantART), was subjected to heavy amount of attack by the more rabid side of the fanbase. Turns out, she was singled out as a target by 4chan and Tumblr, and it was organized that every Derpy fan would pull an all-out assault on her profile. It had gotten to the point where one of the animators from the show wrote a message to tell the irate mob to back off.
    Kreoss: Oh I also want to address on a artist name Yamino. I've heard that she has been garnered a lot of hate by the Brony Community due to her not liking Derpy's portrayal. Let it be known, that she had NOTHING to do with the sudden change. She expressed an opinion on Derpy. That is all. She did not ask me to do this or anyone on the staff. I had to say this because the hate she's been receiving is unnecessary. So leave her be.
    • Now it seems that Hasbro is on the receiving end of the attacks by irritated Derpy fans. Remember: Don't mess with ponies and poor communication leads to irate periphery demographics.
    • Now it's happening again: The announcement of Twilight Sparkle turning into a Winged Unicorn is leading to widespread internet outrage from numerous fans alike. Equestria Daily's announcement of the transformation has gotten 2,500 comments, most of them negative, in less than two days after it was posted.
    • Following the cease and desist order of the fangame Fighting is Magic, the fandom has been in an uproar, spurring the creation of many petitions to lift the order.
  • DC Nation: When Cartoon Network finally put the programming block back on after a long hiatus, they immediately pulled it after only two weeks, and the night before the third week's episodes were supposed to air. Fans weren't happy, they began to lobby about the problem, Twitter and Facebook were filled with angry posts, and even the producers (namely Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld) sided with the fans.
    • To add to that, a petition was started on iPetition to get 10,000 signatures on it to bring back the block. It got 10,000 in two days.
    • A much more organized protest is going on in response to Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series being canceled.
    • A much less fan-positive response came after the "new" Teen Titans, called Teen Titans Go! was announced; the new character designs and Flanderization of beloved characters, including our very own Goddess of Sugar and Ice Personalities, has resulted in thousands of fans pledging not to watch the 'series reboot' on principle, especially after the animators have publicly admitted that they didn't watch the original series.
    • On December 10th, the Fat Man on Batman podcast, hosted by Kevin Smith, uploaded its 52nd episode, once again interviewing Paul Dini. Dini dropped a bombshell that absolutely infuriated fans, insinuating that classic shows such as Teen Titans were cancelled because "girls don't buy toys," and that "we need boys watching these shows." Dini then alleged that Cartoon Network intentionally dumbs down its shows to make them "more appealing to boys." Soon after, a profanity-laced transcription was posted on Tumblr (found here), leading to a firestorm of outraged fans (who already suspected Executive Meddling) calling Cartoon Network 'misogynist,' with many swearing off DC Nation entirely and one fan in particular publicly calling for Stuart Snyder's resignation on the official forums.
  • Revolution Muslim once posted a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone over the two-part episode "200", which depicted Muhammad in a bear costume in the first part (It turned out to be actually Santa Claus in the second part) and as a walking censor bar in the second part. The site was hacked in retaliation, and visitors were redirected to a picture of Muhammad with a bomb on his head and of an older Muslim man kissing a young boy. This later turned into a full-blown Internet Backlash when it was found out that depicting Muhammad as a walking censor bar (as well as mass bleeping of speeches in the second part) was Comedy Central's Executive Meddling out of fear of Revolution Muslim, leading ultimately to "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" on Facebook.

  • The AACS encryption key controversy, in which the AACS company tried to stop people posting its cryptographic key, the hexadecimal number 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0, on their sites. Consequently, it started appearing all over the Internet in every conceivable context (you can even get it on a t-shirt), and (when searched for on Google) gives more than 200,000 Google hits. It happened again later with the HDCP master key (used in Blu-ray DRM).
  • In 2011, a church in Kentucky told an interracial couple they weren't welcome there anymore, and voted to forbid interracial couples from worshiping there, period. The reactions practically set a land speed record for backlash and damage control (three days after the story hit the internet, the people in charge repealed the decision).
  • Netflix's rate increases in 2011 came back to bite the company in the ass hard. People didn't just post flaming statements against Netflix on all social media forms - they hit the company where they lived. Netflix suffered 800,000 subscription cancellations in the third quarter of that year..
  • KONY 2012. Essentially, it was an effort to raise awareness of the infamous terrorist Joseph Kony and the horrific tragedies he has caused (including kidnapping children and either making them sex slaves or child soldiers, and even making them kill their own parents), with the hopes of getting the attention of the government to warrant his arrest. The whole thing spread like wildfire right out of the gate.
    • ...which then resulted in another counterattack. One of the parts of KONY 2012 was putting up posters on a certain date all over the world over night. Before that date, the movement was getting a poor reputation due to questions revolving around the legitimacy of Invisible Children, the organizers of KONY 2012, and irritation from supporters spreading the word by flooding comment boxes all over the 'net. This resulted in what can only be described as one counterattack canceling another attack. When said date rolled around and the posters were all put up all over the place, another set of people walked right out and started tearing them down.
  • Global Radio is in the middle of this right now, with people wanting Real Radio to be kept on as a brand.
  • Industries Lassonde Inc. sued a small business, because their brand of soaps called "Oasis" had the same name as their juice. Lassonde lost the case, but launched another one, demanding compensation for the money spent on the first lawsuit. While perfectly legal, this will insure the bankruptcy of the soap maker, because they already lost a good deal of money on this whole affair. In turn, it will give Lassonde exclusive use of the brand name "Oasis". The story got posted on social medias and it didn't took long for people to backlash at the corporate. Their lateness to react and poor response from their PR resulted in a massive call for boycott. The mainstream media caught the story and the CEO himself had to do some damage control. The lawsuit was quickly dropped.
  • Metacritic/YouTube Bombings, when you absolutely, positively need to make the corporations know how disgruntled you are in the world of media by rating their products with ones/disliking their videos. Accept no substitutes.
  • The "Applebees waitress incident" in St. Louis, MO, led to counterattacks on multiple parties:
  • On June 10, 2013, Taylor Chapman tried to invoke this by posting a video of her going to a Dunkin' Donuts because she didn't get a receipt last night and didn't get a free meal from it. She proclaimed loudly that she was posting this on Facebook so everyone would get mad at the establishment. Well people did get mad... at her. During the entire confrontation, she was extremely rude and spouting out racist insults, calling one of the employees a "sand nigger" all while the employees very calmly and politely made her the free meal she requested. The establishment was very proud of how the employees handled the situation and gave them a raise. There's currently a petition going to support the employee who had to deal with her. And now, because of this video, she has lost her job.
  • The Internet wasted no time in publicly shaming and exposing some people whose costumes for Halloween 2013 were deemed insensitive by them: namely Alicia Ann Lynch, who dressed up as a bombed Boston Maraton runnernote , and Caitlin Cimeno, whose brother Greg and his friend William Filene dressed up as, respectively, George Zimmerman and a blackfaced-and-blood-stained Trayvon Martin.note 
  • Yet another example of this blowing up in the face of the person hoping to instigate one: Dayna Morales, a waitress at Gallop Asian Bistro in New Jersey and a former Marine, posted on the "Have a Gay Day" Facebook page that a family of customers had denied her a tip because she was gay. She received an outpouring of support in web donations which she said she would donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. But the credibility of her story received a major blow when the family posted a receipt online showing that they had tipped her. Soon other holes in her story were uncovered: not only did none of the money Morales get go to the Wounded Warriors, but she also apparently had a major history of compulsive lying and rule-breaking (she fooled friends into thinking she had cancer, and she had been dishonorably discharged from the Marines for undisclosed reasons). Her exploitation of both LGBT groups and wounded veterans managed to piss off liberal and conservative web-surfers alike, leading to Morales losing her job, the PayPal money she got being returned to her donors, and the owner of Gallop Asian Bistro giving Wounded Warriors an actual donation.
  • A girl made a YouTube video calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, because the Girl Scouts of America supports transgender children. Cue an internet tidal wave of backlash, as video responses pop up — a lot of them from former/lifetime Girl Scoutsnote  — who blasted the girl not only for what many percieved as an ignorant and bigoted message but pointing out that her message is the antithesis of the Girl Scouts' principles. The original video has since disappeared; the responses have not.
  • In one awesome example, a little punk named Kenny Glenn released a video on YouTube of him subjecting his pet cat Dusty to repeated beatings and a series water-sprays that, in depiction and action, felt like ritualistic psychological abuse. Internet vigilantes, trolls and concerned animal-lovers teamed up, successfully tracked down Kenny's address and contact details and informed the police. Kenny and his older brother (who was present and doing the filming) were arrested, his family's house became a popular target for internet pranks, and Dusty was rescued, as well as another cat.
  • If this post is true, it's a perfect example of how a little misinformation and lack of research can lead to an Internet Counterattack gone horribly wrong. note 
  • When ex-porn star Jenna Jameson's former assistant was harassing her digital account (careful, images in the linked page are NSFW), her former assistant learned the hard way of messing with the personal life of someone who next to the government have control of the internet as the guy's identity was revealed for Jenna showing the "goods"
  • An owner of a small bar in Ohio banned gay people from his bar while wearing his bigotry like a badge of honor note . The internet wasted no time advertising his business as a go-to hotspot and gay bar, while also noting that the owner's also shown discrimination against ethnic minorities as well as gay people in the hopes of tanking his business.
  • In November 2013, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb said on a Fox Sports program that he didn't consider NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson (who was on the verge of winning his sixth Sprint Cup championship) an athlete. The online NASCAR fanbase reacted instantaneously, and by the end of the night, #PeopleWhoAreMoreOfAnAthleteThanDonovanMcNabb was trending nationwide on Twitter. It included mentions of people such as Toronto mayor Rob Ford and Manti Te'o's "girlfriend". Between this and remarks made by other drivers, McNabb decided to accept a challenge to race against Johnson.
  • In late March 2014, Brendan Eich became Mozilla's CEO. His reign would never get a chance to start when revelations were revealed that he donated to California's Proposition 8, which was a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage for the state. This caused a big internet counterattack against Eich and Mozilla with calls to boycott Firefox and other Mozilla products. Eich resigned in early April 2014 due to the backlash.
  • City centre redesigns are also prone to this trope. Recently (well, Christmas 2013 to be honest), Nottinghamshire City Council, Leeds City Council and Salford City Council were ridiculed on social media for replacing their streetlighting with (in the complainers' words) "futuristic streetlighting", and for ruining an iconic viewpoint. However, we have yet to hear their response, but in any case, replacing the streetlights is probably justified.
  • Dashcon. An ambituous, entirely user-run convention ended up going down in notoriety, due to several mishaps, but what puts it here is as follows: Welcome To Nightvale were slated to do a show and a Q&A, but ultimately, the show was cancelled, following funding issues. A rumor quickly spread that the only recompense for the people who paid extra to catch the show was an extra hour in the "ball pit", a deflating kiddie pool full of plastic balls. While some were angry at WTNV for cancelling, the rest of them turned pretty much everything pertinent to the ball pit into a meme in a matter of hours—within days, the phrase "peed in the ball pit" (referencing a post circulating tumblr during the con) ended up on Urban Dictionary as a convention-specific synonym for dropping the ball.

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alternative title(s): Internet Backlash
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