YouTube rocked by hackers' 'Porn Day'

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The Independent Tech

On the same day it was revealed that users of YouTube, the world's largest video-sharing site, were uploading more than 20 hours of video footage every minute, the site was hit by a porn scandal which threatened to bring the service into disrepute. Over the course of 24 hours, the site was flooded with a number of pornographic video clips rumoured to be in the tens of thousands.

In what is believed to have been a coordinated attack carried out by the infamous 4Chan group of hackers, clips containing nudity and sexual scenes were made available to the sites tens of millions of users. To circumvent the site's normal moderation policy, they were uploaded with titles referencing such favourite children's entertainers as Hannah Montana and the famous American Christian pop boy band, the Jonas Brothers. The videos began with footage of the artists in question before cutting to video of adults participating in group sex acts, according to the BBC.

It is believed YouTube's moderation team have been working around the clock since the attack to try and take down the offending items, though the process may take weeks or even months thanks to the site's laissez-faire approach to content uploading, which relies on users flagging content as offensive before it is viewed by official representatives of the company.

This is far from the first time the site has been drawn into controversy for the content users upload; currently many music videos have been withdrawn from the site following a series of high profile copyright disputes. The group behind the attack have claimed these removals as their motivation for the ongoing incident, with one attacker telling the BBC "I did it because YouTube keeps deleting music. It was part of a 4Chan raid."

A YouTube spokesperson was keen to downplay the attack, saying "YouTube is a community site used by millions of people in very positive ways. Sadly, as with any form of communication, there is a tiny minority of people who try to break the rules."

"We were aware of yesterday's issue and removed the videos as they were brought to our attention through our flagging system, as we would any videos that violate our community guidelines. In addition, any account we discover that has been set up specifically to attack YouTube was also disabled."

4Chan, an image-sharing message board founded in 2003, has been to thank for some of the biggest online phenomena of recent years. Commentators claim they were responsible for the success of such varied internet 'memes' as lolcats, a series of images of kittens captioned in internet slang parlance, and Chocolate Rain, a kitsch YouTube video depicting musician Tay Zonday performing a song about racial disharmony. More recently, its community of highly computer-literate users originated 'rickrollling', a process which involves misleading internet users by tricking them into visiting a website featuring eighties pop star Rick Astley.

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