aka: Internet Backlash
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. Either way, it doesn't matter — who will ever
know? Consumers never tell each other things of this nature, right?
If it gets on the Internet, double wrong.
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. 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
Now in this case, the target corporation has three options:
- 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...
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 comic 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 on every single link on the magazine's Facebook page got comments referencing goats.
- 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) and mocked the moderator who banned the user in question.
- And things got worse from there, especially when someone fabricated a bunch of quotes from Jennifer Hepler, one of the writers, and things crossed the line into personal attacks on her physique. Combined with a previous comment which only served to alienate even more people... well the internet just ripped her a new one.
- Mass Effect:
- During the months following the release of Mass Effect, author Cooper Lawrence went on Fox News and falsely accused the game of having "fully interactive sex scenes", full-on nudity and selectable poses. The problem was she was upfront about never having played the game and yet somehow she knew it was pornographic. Fans went on the attack, and bombarded the Amazon.com listing for one of her self-help books with one-star reviews. Many of the reviews naturally pointed out that even though they had never read the book, they still felt qualified to talk about its content and give it one out of five stars. Even Jack Thompson, another notorious anti-sex-and-violence-in-video-games activist, called bullshit on her claims. After being convinced to watch the game over somebody's shoulder for a couple hours, Lawrence apologized.
- Kevin McCullough who runs a blog declared the game a "rape simulation", "with its ‘over the net’ capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away." He had to admit that he never played the game and these things were not included, but he still maintains Mass Effect is a rape simulator, somehow. (Reality check: just for starters, every sex scene in the game, even the optional ones, is consensual.)
- When Mass Effect 3 was released, the internet was riled up against BioWare since fans were extremely dissatisfied with the controversial ending they offered. The fan outrage was so bad that, one gamer filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the advertising for the series had promised more than was delivered to a misleading extent. Furthermore, this resulted in several campaigns, including fan artwork, cupcakes, and M&M's being sent to BioWare. BioWare did somewhat go with option one—released an "Extended Cut" that addressed some problems, but did not fundamentally change anything. This has resulted in a smaller, less enraged version of the original backlash.
- 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 have done nothing to subside the rage, especially their refusal to add a true offline mode. An offline mod is already in the works.
- Things are going From Bad to Worse with the news EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, is stepping down (though it's possible this could be a coincidence) and now Origin, EA's DRM, now has a security problem discovered that puts all Origin users' PCs under hijack risk by hackers.
- Then there is the whole case of being sent not one but two Golden Poos from the internet.
- Forgot Golden Poo: In 2012, EA was voted the worst corporation in America by a landslide due to an organized campaign by irate fans. Yes, THE worst, even over corporations (which shall not be named) wracked by scandals and corruption, convicted of crimes, have exploitative labor policies, or are 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.
- 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.
- 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 X-COM: 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: X-Com 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...
- 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 X... as 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 can only be described as spite, 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.◊ Any flames that died down have been re-ignited. It went From Bad to Worse when he was confirmed and his backstory was almost exactly the same as Mega Man Volnutt, the protagonist of the cancelled Legends games whose cancellation got this mess started.
- Apparently, this character was planned perhaps a year in advance, with Inafune's help. They just announced him during a time where Capcom hasn't been treating the character right in the eyes of fans.
- 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's announcement that fans wouldn't be able to play the demo for Resident Evil 6 unless they bought the full version of the completely unrelated game 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.
- Dm C 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.
- 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.
- "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."
- 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.
- During Blizzcon 2011, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher made a song towards the Alliance that was little more than a string of homophobic insults and calls for the Alliance to commit suicide note ; The homophobic comments in particular made several participants feel unwelcome. Community manager Bashiok tried to pass it off as being "Just a joke, not to be taken seriously", which made matters worse. Eventually, Blizzard owed up to what they did and publicly apologized for all of it, up to and including Bashiok's dismissal of the situation.
- 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.
- The War Z, a Day Z 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.
- 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 representationnote 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 for one so far.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. People who have made a legitimate living out of Let's Play, as well as all the fans of those people, are setting the internet ablaze.
- Microsoft has received a ton of this from its fans after the Reveal of the Xbox One (from the inability to play pre-owned 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 Insane Troll Logic responses to people that kept blasting him for defending a terrible idea. He then told everyone to "deal with it", which instantly became a meme overnight and Adam was quickly blasted by everyone. 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.
- Amazingly 4Chan, the Wretched Hive of the Internet, 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.
- And then there's Project Chanology. It's mellowed out over the years, but it's still ongoing.
- 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 Megaupload.com 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 whitehouse.org petition to legally brand the Church as a hate group and the hacking of spokeperson Shirley Phelps-Roper's Twitter account.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cracked.com's list of eight awesome cases of internet vigilantism.
- Fark.com 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. The creator of the website was then sued by Beck, which eventually resulted in the court 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.
- Reddit user once posted how a gaming company had, according to him, borrowed his custom 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 after Aaron Swartz's suicide (because he was being harassed by his State) would have prevented this... especially since Swartz was one of Reddit's cofounder.
- 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.
- When Anita Sarkeesian began funding "Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games," she started advertising in a variety of places. This included spamming adverts on 4chan, even the unrelated boards. She was almost immediately met with threats, insults, and coordinated efforts against her. This continued after the project was funded, in light of everything from questionable business practices (including ridiculous production delays) to the dubious necessity of the budget to her own viewpoints, as well as her tendencies toward impartiality.
- The counterattack by itself got another one in the form of major game sites criticizing the backlash and encouraging people to donate. This counter-counterattack by itself funded the entirety of her videos in less than a week.
- 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 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 weeks 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.