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Operation Shell Shock is an online vigilante campaign orchestrated by 4chan users against two North Florida teenage girls who shared video footage of themselves torturing an endangered gopher tortoise in July 2014.
In July 2014, a video was posted to Facebook by two Florida teenage girls in which they attempt to set a rare gopher tortoise on fire several times before thrashing the animal against the pavement and stomping it to death.
Operation Shell Shock
In threads on the /b/ (random) board, users were able to locate the address the video was taken at by comparing stills with Google Street View images (shown below, left). Additionally, the suspected identities, phone numbers and social media accounts of the two girls were posted on /b/ (shown below, right).
On July 16th, the Nevada Voters for Animals Facebook page reposted the original videos and called for viewers to help bring the two teenagers to justice. The same day, Tumblr user Felinecrusader posted about the video, urging readers to report the two girls to PETA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, the ASPCA and the police. In the first 48 hours, the post gained over 360 notes. Also on July 16th, the “Justice for the Tortoise” Tumblr blog was launched. On the following day, Redditor kungpowgoat posted an article about the incident to the /r/news subreddit, where it gathered more than 650 votes (91% upvoted) in the following 24 hours.
News Media Coverage
On July 16th, The Florida Times Union published an article reporting that local law enforcement officials confirmed that the girls were 15 and 18 years of age and attended the Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Florida. In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the video and 4chan’s retaliation, including The Daily Dot, The Huffington Post, New York Daily News,NBC Miami and the Miami Herald.
The Florida Times-Union – Orange Park girls under investigation after graphic video of gopher tortoise torture surfaces
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