EmmaYouAreNext.com has been uncovered as nothing more than a hoax, albeit a pretty intricate one, by a group of prolific internet spammers going under the false moniker of "Rantic Marketing".
The website, which displayed a countdown timer and an image of Emma Watson's crying face, felt very different to the original iCloud leak that hit celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, and has today revealed itself to be fake.
Redirecting to the supposed "campaign website" rantic.com, the site claims to have all been a hoax designed to draw attention to the threat of 4chan to the internet.
Rantic Marketing doesn't actually seem to exist though, as a glance at its hollow Twitter account and apparently fictional CEO, "Brad Cockingham", will tell you.
"Dear humans, In the digital age we have a new kind of terror going on and it is called 4chan, Help us take down the terrorist group 4chan," Rantic tweeted, perhaps hoping that the media would cover the hoax as an anti-4chan campaign.
The threat to release illegally obtained photos of Emma Watson, a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, came after she launched the "HeForShe" gender equality campaign in a speech in New York this week.
Rantic Marketing was previously the source of rumours that Grand Theft Auto V's PC release had been cancelled and was also behind the 'message from Brian Griffin' countdown site that promised news on the Family Guy character's return from the dead and was written up around the world.
Whoever is behind "Rantic" also appears to be involved with FoxWeekly (no affiliation with Fox News), a fake news site used to disseminate these hoaxes for millions of hits.
Users of 4chan or similar forums (possibilities include the likes of 9gag and 8chan) have a history of intricate hoaxing.
Pictures that apparently showed young girls self-harming were posted in 2013 as part of the “Cut for Bieber” spoof. The Twitter hashtag and images pulled in media attention as it appeared that teenage girls were cutting themselves in a bid to force the singer Justin Bieber to stop smoking marijuana. It later emerged that most, if not all, of the pictures had been faked.
This same group of hackers previously went by the name SocialVEVO, and though names like Jacob Povolotski, Yasha Swag, Swenzy and Joey B have been linked to it, these are almost certainly fake too.
A spokesperson for Emma Watson is yet to respond to request for comment on the latest developments.
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