Thursday, August 06, 2009

Web 2.0 "Terrorist" Outed:: The Fine Line between "Lulz" and Loser?

Crossposted on ThickCulture.

Just a short blog, as I'm on the road en-route from Toronto to San Francisco for ASA. So, I got into Iowa City around 9PM last night and I saw a tweet from CBC, linking to a story on the "mastermind" behind Pranknet, Tariq Malik {left}. The Smoking Gun goes into great deal outing Pranknet {with media clips} and their nefarious activities and BoingBoing & Canoe.Ca have short articles on the matter.

In a nutshell, Tariq and others used Skype to make various prank phone calls getting unsuspecting people to do destructive things based on appeals to authority for an audience in a chatroom. In a sense, it's reminiscent of the Stanley Milgram experiments on obedience. It also reminds me of ethnomethodological "breaching experiments" but this isn't about social science, this is for the "lulz." See this NYTimes article on "lulz" and "malwebolence" that a friend forwarded to me last summer {HT: Terri}. Arguably, there is no line between "lulz" and loser, but the phenomenon speaks to an interesting psychology of cyberspace.

Tariq wanted to build an audience based on his comedic "genius," but since being outed, he's cowering in his mom's Windsor, Ontario apartment.

Twitterversion:: {Twitter is was down, 6 August 2009 9:55 CDT} Canadian Web 2.0 "terrorist" outed by The Smoking Gun & #ThickCulture #CBC

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