Douglas Rushkoff: The Web’s Dirtiest Site

Where do the Internet’s most deadly viruses, filthiest porn, and sophomoric pranks come from? The Daily Beast’s Douglas Rushkoff goes inside the underground site Web giants can’t kill.

When AT&T recently blocked access to a hugely popular hackers’ Web site, 4chan.org, many of us Internet old-timers froze in place. It was like one of those bad Westerns, when an arrogant newcomer sits down in the saloon, and then insults the baddest, most trigger-happy gunslinger in the county. People move to the side of the room, climb under tables, and wait for the shots to fly.

The 4Chan community—a diehard, if ever-changing assortment of the Net’s most-desperate, most-anonymous, and most-wanted, well, punks—smelled censorship, top-down control, and an evil corporation trying to keep down the world’s last squat for hackers. They went batshit. The site’s founder posted a note telling his minion’s to write and complain to AT&T, and the dog whistle having been heard, a posse called “Project AT&T,” quickly formed, dedicated to revenge.

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