Internet Counterattack

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The internet responds to SOPA/PIPA/ACTA.

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?

WRONG! 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, slander, 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:

  1. 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 Fanbase or Broken Base, this will probably just move the problem around...
  2. 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.[1] Some people will actually carry out their inevitable threat to cancel their account.
  3. Try to sue the masses for slander. 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[2]]; but 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.

Examples of Internet Counterattack include:



  • 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, and discussion of the article on their Facebook page along with it.

Live-Action TV

  • Stephen Colbert is a rare example of a singular figure who does this quite regularly from raids on The Other Wiki, to Operation Humble Kanye West, to getting galactic treadmills named after him. One of his favorite targets was Conservapedia's Conservative Bible Project, which tried to edit all the "liberal bias" out of The Bible. Colbert told his viewers to make him a biblical figure. Colbert inspired vandalism of Wikipedia so many times that they will now preemptively lock a page as soon as Stephen mentions it on his show.

Video Games

  • 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.
  • With Mass Effect 3 released, the internet is riled up against Bioware since fans were dissatisfied with the controversial ending they offered. The fan outrage is so bad that, according to Yahoo, people are filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission over this.
  • 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.
  • 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. 2k Games since gave the developers of Civilization the greenlight to make an X-COM game that actually was a strategy game.
  • 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", a "rape simulation", full-on nudity and selectable poses. Fans went on the attack, and bombarded the 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 called bullshit on her claims.
  • Capcom has been the victim of a lot of this for several poor, some would say suicidal business decisions.
    • The most upfront is 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, 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.
    • Capcom continues to dig themselves into a hole. 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 box. Any flames that died down have been re-ignited. It Got 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 Play Station 3-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.
      • It Got Worse: 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 has many fans decrying it as a poor business move because it seems like a money grab.
  • Nintendo of America once commented that they had no plans to release Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandoras 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 hundred of angry letters to the Nintendo of America offices. Xenoblade and The Last Story have since been confirmed for release on the Wii, though whether Pandora's Tower will make it to North America remains to be seen.
  • "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."
  • 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 (which none of them had yet used) 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.
  • 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. To top it all off, 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.

Web Original

  • 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 NEDM meme (which was lighting a cat on fire and letting it burn to death). This is possibly because of LOLcats. 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 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.
    • Shia LaBeouf started a political art project against Trump, people from 4chan began to troll him, and then both sides began to double down. As a result, Shia avoids public appearances (Kukuruyo even made illustration in Where's Wally? style, titled "Where's Shia Labeouf?"). As summarized by Team Crowder:

Shia wanted to prove a point with his “He will not divide us” malarkey, and he did. Just not as he expected. Instead of uniting the masses against Trump, Shia united the masses… against Shia.

  • 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. 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 release said names to the FBI.[3] 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 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. It's their more agreed upon Crowning Moment of Awesome, understandably.
      • Though an even cursory scanning of the /b folder will indicate that 4chan is far from unified in disgust/dislike for lolicon/pedophilia (including whether the two terms are the same thing)... not that 4chan ever unites on anything (besides maybe SOPA/PIPA)
    • 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.
  • 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.
  •'s list of eight awesome cases of internet vigilantism.
  • Fark 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.[4] 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 LJRPers, 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!
  • 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 review subsequently returned to the main site.
  • 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.
  • The backlash against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect-IP Act (PIPA), as seen in the Politics section of Internet Backdraft. 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.
  • Parodied in this Xkcd strip, which shows Stephanie Meyer (the creator of Twilight) writing Breaking Dawn as a response to message board users 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. 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 the what happened can be found here.
  • In July 2016, it was revealed that TmarTn and ProSyndicate, who made CSGO skin-gambling videos using a website called CSGO Lotto, owned the website and didn't disclose it. Since their videos were potentially targeting children and their winning could have been falsified, they were called out by, among others, HonorTheCall (who broke out the story), h3h3 Productions (here) and TotalBiscuit (here). After failed attempts at damage control, the offending channels' owners were added to a class-action lawsuit against Valve for allowing an illegal online gambling market.
  • Controversy erupted on /r/anime in October 2016 when a thread for the animated music video of "Shelter" by Porter Robinson and Madeon was removed by moderators for being a music video and thus violating their strict definition of Anime ("An animated series, produced and aired in Japan, intended for a Japanese audience"), even though the video was produced by A-1 Pictures and sponsored by Crunchyroll for a Japanese audience. The artist reacted to the news with a tweet, saying the decision had an "insane explanation"[5] and was "really really heartbreaking". Threads created by users to protest the decision were deleted by the moderators. Some time later, the video was allowed to be reposted on /r/anime. Reddit users were quick to protest the decision and its perceived absurdity. The fuss was such that a Meta Thread of the month announced the removal of the series clause in the rule.

Western Animation

  • 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." [6]] One of the supporters of the edit, an artist who goes by Yamino on Deviant ART, 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 few 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.

Other Media

adm_ghost: You really don't need to be here. You're not accomplishing anything.
guest (sic): You cant tell me what to do bitch go back to the kitchen and stay there bitch.
adm_ghost: See, that's the reason that we don't want you here. Go back to your .tk and #chan websites, okay? Good.
guest (sic): blow me
adm_ghost: It's things l
adm_citrus: Dude, listen to her. Seriously, you're not going to look like a dipshit if you turn your tail and run like all hell is behind you. Well, no more of a dipshit than you do now.
guest (sic): tell your bitch-admn to stay in kitchen, whore shoudl stay in kitchen. you cant do anything to anon were invivincible bitch
adm_ghost: Next time you think you're so anonymous, try it on a board where I can't see all the guest posters' IP addresses. Same goes if the rest of you get ideas.

  • The porn site that originally counterattacked the NHPrime protest? Their traffic was completely shut down by the Unionists. Unfortunately, both movements dissolved not long after...
  • Netflix's rate increases in 2011 came back to bite the company in the ass hard. People didn't just post flaming statements against Netflix on all social media forms - they hit the company where they lived. Netflix suffered 800,000 subscription cancellations in the third quarter of that year.
  • Comedienne/radio personality April Winchell's (now-defunct) Etsy parody site once held a Secret Santa program where people could donate money to them via Paypal so they could send $100 gift cards to needy families. Paypal then froze regretsy's account, because they supposedly weren't allowed to use a "Donate" button due to being a corporation. They were ordered to refund every donated dollar and send Paypal a letter of apology for being deceitful. When the site's head posted this situation, the backlash was huge, and turned Paypal's Facebook page into a battleground. To its credit, Paypal quickly responded by unfreezing the account and actually making direct donations themselves to the intended recipients, but not before enduring 24 hours of being called the devil.
  • Revolution Muslim once posted a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone over the two-part episode "200", which depicted Muhammad in a bear costume (which turned out to be actually Santa Claus in the second part). The site was hacked in retaliation, and visitors were redirected to a picture of Muhammad with a bomb on his head and of an older Muslim man kissing a young boy. This later turned into a full-blown Internet Backlash when Comedy Central censored the offending depiction, leading ultimately to "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" on Facebook.
  • Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry once posted a YouTube video saying he would fight Barack Obama's supposed "war on religion", highlighted by him saying how awful it was that gay people could serve in the military but Christmas couldn't be celebrated in public schools. It became YouTube's second-most disliked video of the time, behind only Justin Bieber's "Baby" music video - and numerous parodies were spawned as a result. Perry's poll numbers soon plummeted to the point where he suspended his campaign by the South Carolina primaries.
  • In 2003, former U.S. senator Rick Santorum commented that consenting adults did not have a constitutional right to privacy in regard to sexual acts, that if sodomy is allowed then incest and polygamy aren't far behind, and that anti-sodomy laws are important to maintaining society and family. Columnist Dan Savage wasn't amused. If you Google the word Santorum, the first result is... well...
  • Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, was served spoiled chicken at a Manhattan restaurant. The manager, gambling that he would leave without a fuss, offered minimal compensation. He got his revenge by posting the restaurant's name and address to the Freakonomics blog. "Last I checked, the roast chicken was still on the menu. Bon appetit."
  • Cartoon Network got much backlash from the CN Real block, especially with its somewhat arrogant marketing ("More than just Cartoons"), to the point that the block and everything associated with it was purged from the marketing as well as many of the shows associated with the block, with the last few live action shows (Hole In The Wall, Dude, What Would Happen?, and Destroy Build Destroy) lingering until November 2011, where they were finally canceled. This, along with the continued attempts to apply live action shows to the Network (their next project is Level Up) are possibly more noticed than the Network's attempts to Win Back the Crowd.
  • A girl made a YouTube video calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, because the Girl Scouts of America supports transgender children]. Cue an internet tidal wave of backlash, as video responses pop up—a lot of them from former and lifetime Girl Scouts[7]—who blasted the girl not only for her ignorant and bigoted message, but pointing out that her message is the antithesis of the Girl Scouts' principles. The original video has since disappeared; the responses have not.
  • During the July 2011 News of the World scandal where the publication's reporters were revealed by Nick Davies and Amelia Hill to have illegally accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Lulz Sec managed to get into the newspaper's website and replace it with a spoof story about Rupert Murdoch's (imaginary) death. This was but one notable facet among many in the time span that transformed News of the World from a multimillion-reader sensational outlet on Monday to a pariah considered beyond salvation by even Murdoch himself... on Thursday of that same week.
  • After United Airlines baggage handlers damaged Dave Carroll's guitar and the company refused to accept responsibility, Carroll got his revenge by recording a song called "United Breaks Guitars" and releasing it on YouTube. As of this writing, it's gotten over 11 million views on YouTube and is now cited as a case study by United Airlines customer service.
  • KONY 2012. Essentially, it was an effort to raise awareness of the infamous terrorist Joseph Kony and the horrific tragedies he has caused (including kidnapping children and either making them sex slaves or child soldiers, and even making them kill their own parents), with the hopes of getting the attention of the government to warrant his arrest. The whole thing spread like wildfire right out of the gate.
  • In 2011, a Starcraft 2 player and trainer named Destiny was the target of DDOS attacks for several months, until he managed to get into contact with the attacker, who tried to blackmail him. However, Destiny managed to pull the attacker's IP and forwarded it to one of his friends, who managed to not only pull the attacker's name, contact information, and address, but the names and phone numbers of all of his immediate relatives as well. After making a call to the attacker to taunt him, Destiny got into contact with the attacker's father, who promised that his son would not do anything like this again. Destiny has not had a single DDOS attack since.
  • Starting with is "Project Chanology" in 2008, the hacker group Anonymous has been metamorphosing into a group less interested in lulz than in social justice (at least its interpretation of it). As of this writing, its most recent actions have included supporting the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, "Operation Darknet" targeting hosts of child pornography, and its part in forcing officials to open or re-open rape investigations in Ohio and Missouri during 2013.
  • Three news headers that tell most of the story:
    1. "Beloved Cat Fired from His Job at a Local Public Library"
    2. "Beloved Cat Will Keep His Job at the Local Library After International Backlash"
    3. "Library Cat Outlasts Councilman That Wanted Him Gone"
  1. Although you're screwed no matter what, since if you reverse the changes, the other half of your subscribers will complain that they loved the changes.
  2. 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
  3. apparently, he was hoping the resultant media coverage would get his techniques recognized as legitimate
  4. a reference to Gilbert Gottfried's performance at the Bob Saget Comedy Central roast
  5. a comment by the moderator compared the video to a Japanese studio being contracted to produce SpongeBob SquarePants episodes
  6. More background about the edit from the head writer of the episode can be found here
  7. some of them showed off their Lifetime Membership cards, too