INTERNET—Fans mourn for Emma Watson, star of Harry Potter, after she was found dead in her apartment in New York on Monday evening. After giving a speech at the UN about her support of feminism, the internet forum 4chan retaliated by hacking her iPhone and posting nude pictures they found of the starlet.
Watson drank a fatal amount of bleach after 4chan carried out a merciless hacking and stalking campaign, reminding many of the story of Amanda Todd. However, experts say the extent of the capabilities of Todd’s tormentors were limited compared to the “shockingly sophisticated and terrifying” attack that seems to have caused Watson to so rapidly commit suicide.
4chan recently went through yet another great schism, with many leaving the community of so-called imageboards for another called 8chan.org, which promised to allow more freedom of speech after 4chan banned repetitive and worn-out postings against “Social Justice Warriors.” In the past, 4chan has had other disputes and separations, often based on what are now called “waifus,” or iconic images of beautiful young women such as Boxxy captioned with expressive, gestural words. In the past, the overuse of the Boxxy waifu caused a similar schism.
Emma Watson was the most beloved waifu at 4chan, so this depraved and violent attack has caused many to question whether or not 4chan has been infiltrated by outsiders. Some nascent Reddit men’s rights and dating advice groups, festering hives of lightly-veiled misogynistic ideology, believe that Social Justice Warriors are a dominant cultural force that must be resisted. Feminists, they believe, have done many terrible things such as turn America into a weaker country and shift power unfairly towards women in all sectors of life.
Until these Reddit groups emerged, most of this kind of lingo and ideology was simply not present on 4chan, or at least unformed, so many experts agree that either the ideas are bleeding over from Reddit, or that Reddit is intentionally pushing them on 4chan in an agenda that matches the ideology: Because there is such a thing as a Social War, it must be fought through the propagation of ideas, and in the case of Emma Watson, with violent and menacing threats and computer hacking.