4chan pranks usually unfold in predictable stages: an inside joke of some kind is born on the boards, its participants invent fake handles on forums or social networks to propagate it elsewhere, and everybody dances in the resulting confusion.
(“It made it into the news in my country,” one man wrote of a Swiss article on Ebola-Chan.
Fortunately, one of Coard’s Facebook friends who shared the photo herself also downloaded a copy of it and was able to email it to Coard last night, and he turned it over to me.In an emailed statement yesterday, a representative from Facebook explained that the company does not “make any exemptions for nudity due to an image’s documentary context.” The statement went on to explain Facebook’s official terms: “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” But Facebook’s own Community Standards page makes it clear that there are, in fact, some exceptions to its nudity rule, such as a photo of “a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.” “This just illustrates Facebook’s racially insensitive censorship policies,” insists Coard.On Sunday, an anonymous 4chan user took responsibility for a series of fake posts about Ebola-Chan on the Nigerian Web site Nairaland, which claimed, among other things, that Ebola was a demon sent by a “new racist cult in Europe and in the USA.” The posts also claimed that some Western Ebola doctors belonged to the cult.While the “rumors” were reported by outlets like Vocativ and the International Business Times, Nairaland users promptly called out the trolling — much to the prankster’s disappointment.The last time I looked at it, there were over 90 comments, and Coard says he received not one complaint.
But it’s his belief that the photo was removed after Facebook received complaints about it from “some confused white or black person who found it offensive.” Facebook also removed the image from the pages of all of the people who shared it and from the page of the original poster, Muhammad, who says she doesn’t recall where she found it.
But when the child posted another video where her father, Gene Leonhardt, furiously defended his crying daughter, spouting out lines like 'you done goofed' and warning viewers he had contacted 'the cyberpolice', the internet unleashed its fury.
Six years after the internet began bullying Jessi - who now goes by Damien and they/them pronouns - to the point of needing to be placed in institutionalized psychological care, they says the video changed their life.
In Africa, where misinformation and superstition about Ebola flourish, that risk could be particularly high: As Reuters reported in late June, suspicion and fear of doctors has already undermined efforts to fight the disease — and that’s without rumors that said doctors belong to some Ebola-worshipping death cult. Much like the disease itself, now that she’s out there, there’s no controlling her.
4chan’s moderators seem to be aware of the problem, at least: While the site didn’t respond to The Post’s request for comment on the issue, they’ve apparently started to go after Ebola-Chan threads. “I loved witnessing the birth of ebola-chan,” another user wrote over the weekend.
“Pretty funny.”) It stops being funny, of course, the instant that anyone misses the “joke” and takes it seriously.