<p>Internet Outage</p>

Internet Outage

Prominent websites accidentally display pornography because of old Vidme embeds

News outlets were foud to carry links to videos with names like ‘Naughty Spy Girls Part 2,’ and ‘Bottoms Up Brianna’

Vishwam Sankaran
Friday 23 July 2021 12:53
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Several prominent websites, including that of The Washington Post and the Huffington Post began displaying porn after the domain of a now defunct video hosting site embedded in these pages were purchased by a porn company.

Articles in several news outlets were foud to carry links to videos with names like “Naughty Spy Girls Part 2,” and “Bottoms Up Brianna,” after a porn company called 5 Star Porn HD bought the domain for the video hosting site VidMe which was shuttered in 2017.

While the links and embeds in several of these websites have since been removed, it points to the growing problem of link rot online, which happens when broken hyperlinks and embeds in pages don’t point back to their original targets.

For instance, when former US President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter in January, the thousands of his tweets were wiped out from the microblogging platform, and embeds and links in other pages redirecting to his tweets began displaying empty gray boxes.

According to a 2003 study that assessed over 151 million HTML pages on the internet, one out of every 200 links on the internet broke each week.

This study by researchers from HP and Microsoft observed that a web link on the internet had a half-life of 2 to 3 years, findings which were confirmed byanother study of the Yahoo! Directoryin 2016-17.

In other words, a new website created on the internet with 100 external links is likely to have about 50 links broken in about 2 to 3 years.

Another research, whose findings were published recently in Columbia Journalism Review, assessed over 550,000 articles in The New York Times, which contained over 2.2 million links to external websites.

It found that about 6 per cent of links on the website tagged to 2018 articles were inaccessible, while close to 72 percent of the links from 1998 were dead.

A 2019 investigation by Buzzfeed News also noted that there is an underground industry where customers can pay marketers to find dead links in big websites, including news outlets, who can then use it to do anything from advertising products to hosting their own messages.

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