The 404 Attacks – Meme or Scheme?

Nothing Is True

Photo: Mr.Bigg23 (CC)

[UPDATE: the Wikipedia page has been deleted.]

A Wikipedia article that’s been the subject of some internal argument there (based on the fact that much associated with this meme is by its nature unverifiable) was brought to my attention by one of the readers of my books. I can’t say I’m entirely enthusiastic about the possible uses that this thing might be put to in the hands of a group like Anon — though it seems to already be “their” M.O. anyway, and the dis-organization is structured along the same lines as the fictitious (?) “Mother Hive Brain” in a way that’s always amused me more than a little. In a world teetering on the brink, and in the midst of issues such as “NymWars,” this topic at the least seems finally ripe for discussion as well as action. From Wikipedia:

In practice, the 404 Attacks are a technique for disseminating disinformation through various networks. The campaign thus far seems to be organized through mIRC, various message boards, and relatively small circles of culture jammers. The project in general, much like Operation Mindfuck, leads an outsider to an immediate double bind scenario: The only safe assumption is that everything that is read or disseminated globally through various media networks, especially but not limited to the internet, is false or a part of the 404 Attacks- However, this is not really a safe assumption at all, as it lends itself to widespread paranoia and skepticism at the very least.

Motives behind each individual’s level of participation vary across the board. Typically these motives include, but are not limited to: Increasing awareness, pulling the curtain back on the art of persuasion/”mind control”, increasing chaos in systems that tend towards homeostasis, and Doing It For The Lulz.

Techniques include, but are not limited to, strategic application of art crime (graffiti campaigns, reality tunnel manipulation, guerilla theater, etc.), meme dissemination, social engineering and production of media designed to disrupt traditional thought patterns in subhuman primates.

The first cited use of the 404 attacks was in the novel Fallen Nation, an excerpt of which, explaining the 404 concept, can be found here. Briefly quoting the excerpt:

How did this snowball? You’ll have to inspect my recent entries. In the time left in this incarnation, I can say this much…The net crackled here and there with chatter, frankly predicting the complete destruction of corporate and governmental information architecture by agents unknown. No one knew how or why this would happen, or even questioned the meme’s credibility; they just passed it on, working it into their conversations without gravity.

Looking back, it was the quietly asserted inevitability of the ‘404 attacks’ in these messages that in turn made the events inevitable. Whoever spread those initial communications is a genius of memetic engineering. Anyone with the motivation and skills to bring chaos to the infrastructure, receiving the meme, would immediately conclude that they were not alone, others had the same plans, and all they had to do was help it along. Soon artists, bands, hackers, and pretty much all those disenfranchised by the present regime passed this anarchistic mantra amongst themselves. What a joke. I doubt that the original authors had anything in the oven, save prodding everyone else into action.

In the novel, it is utilized by the fictional ontological terrorist organization “The Mother Hive Brain Syndicate.” It has since been picked up by the hacker collective Anonymous.

(Full disclosure: Following Wikipedia’s guidelines I neither created nor edited this article because I’m associated with some of the original sources. I would otherwise change several inaccuracies.)

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  • Jack

    you’re not very good at this, james

    • Jamie Lee

      “This” being what, exactly?

  • Jack

    you’re not very good at this, james

  • http://www.facebook.com/agent139 Jamie Lee

    “This” being what, exactly?

  • ICE

    i didnt even read this and i say scheme? A meme does not create confusion about what it is ever. 

  • ICE

    i didnt even read this and i say scheme? A meme does not create confusion about what it is ever. 

    • Jamie Lee

      Oh, no, they’re all legit memes. Which is to say, they’ve been used at a time and place by groups of people. I posted it because I thought it was amusing that people are apparently blending them together. 

      I wonder ‘scheme’ because I’ve had occultist national socialist groups suddenly knocking on my door and I’m hoping to god they’re not spreading around things that could lead back to me but that’s kind of how it goes sometimes, I guess. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/agent139 Jamie Lee

    Oh, no, they’re all legit memes. Which is to say, they’ve been used at a time and place by groups of people. I posted it because I thought it was amusing that people are apparently blending them together. 

    I wonder ‘scheme’ because I’ve had occultist national socialist groups suddenly knocking on my door and I’m hoping to god they’re not spreading around things that could lead back to me but that’s kind of how it goes sometimes, I guess. 

  • Jamie Lee

    HEY GUYS I STARTED SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T EXIST, HERE IS A STUPID DELETED WIKIPEDIA PAGE TO PROVE IT

  • Jamie Lee

    HEY GUYS I STARTED SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T EXIST, HERE IS A STUPID DELETED WIKIPEDIA PAGE TO PROVE IT

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