When Toronto development company Cityzen decided to set up an on-line poll to name a new condo going up at Yonge and Esplanade, it failed to take into account the power of Moot and his Web disciples. As of yesterday, the Toronto condo development was on a fast track to being dubbed “Moot,” the pseudonym of Christopher Poole—on-line prankster and the founder of 4chan.org, an anonymous image-sharing forum. The community of Web-savvy individuals is powerfully coordinated and has a tendency to hijack the results of on-line polls. Moot has been officially disqualified from the condo-naming contest, but the fact that he had about three times as many votes as the second place competitor—the decidedly less interesting “Euphoria Towers” (will there be atomized MDMA in the heating ducts?)—is a testament to 4chan’s influence. Yet this is small peanuts compared to his other exploits. To celebrate the group’s almost-victory on the Esplanade, we’ve rounded up five of 4chan’s most notable on-line pranks.
1. Moot managed to become Time magazine’s most influential person of the year in 2009.
2. The slightly built 20-something was enjoying first place in an on-line Victoria’s Secret best body contest before his entry was deemed ineligible. Second place was another facetious entry: the portly game developer Gabe Newell.
4. When Justin Bieber decided to allow the denizens of the Internet to determine his next touring destination, the folks at 4chan ensured he’d go somewhere exotic—North Korea. This isn’t the only time that the group has taken umbrage with the YouTube sensation: last month, they pushed the search term “Justin Bieber syphilis” to the top of Google Trends’ Hot Searches list.
5. 4chan users were responsible for a resurgence of British pop singer Rick Astley by originating the concept of Rickrolling, wherein Internet users are hoaxed into clicking a link that leads to this, now at 25,194,104 views.