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9gag is a meme-sharing website set in Hong Kong but hosted in the United States. It was launched in 2008. The site’s content is mainly a common repetition of many popular memes; most commonly rage comics. The site uses the same style of image sharing that sites such as 4chan, reddit, and Funnyjunk do, but allows people to post with their Facebook accounts, and has a “like” system (similar to those found on reddit and Funnyjunk) on individual posts. 9gag is infamous on the Internet due to allegations of stealing content from other sites. It is also known as being a scapegoat for the various escapades of /b/ and Anonymous, similar to Ebaumsworld.
The 9 Rules of 9GAG
There are certain rules 9GAG strictly enforces which resemble both “The Rules of the Internet” and forum rules.
1. 9GAG is just for FUN.
2. 9GAG is JUST for fun.
3. Get Involved.
4. If you’re funny, you get Likes.
5. Play Nice.
6. Respect originality and creativity.
7. Moderate your content.
8. No repost.
9. Report Abuse.
9gaggers, in response to allegations that their site only steals existing memes, have begun an effort to bring their own memes to light. The main three are: Sad Frogman / Sad Bear Guy, The name is: Tadá! and If you know what I mean, Mr. Bean. These are for the most part only used on 9gag, although they have seen some spread beyond it via Facebook.
Feud with 4chan
In late 2011, 9gag came into conflict with users of 4chan. The conflict was provoked by 9gag users claiming to be the creators of memes originating on 4chan. 9gaggers also began referring to themselves as a “legion”, which was a blatant copy of Anonymous. The noticeable watermark at the bottom of every image taken from 9gag was also a factor, as it implied that 9gag had created the image.
On December 21st, 2011 4chan members, furious over 9gag’s antics, planned a raid on the website. The planned raid included the posting of gore, porn and other such materials to the newest uploads section of the website, while another team was to perform DDoS attacks on the web server. 9gag, hearing of the attack, was quick to retaliate, forming what they called “The 9gag army”. They responded to 4chan’s threat with the following message: “The 9gag army is coming for you 4chan.” This only further angered the 4chan members. Many threads appeared on /b/ to spur on the operation. On 9gag, multiple posts went up in defense of themselves.
On December 20th, 2011, one day before the raid, 4chan members launched another op, known as Operation Deepthroat. The operation was to be a three part take down plan, involving some of the largest memetic sites on the internet: reddit, tumblr, and funnyjunk. Within hours, the message had been spread all across the 4 participating websites.
On December 20th, the raid officially started. Hundreds of fake accounts took to the newest uploads section, uploading gore and pornography, some of it involving children. Each entry was quickly downvoted, and then removed by the moderators. However, for as fast as the moderators could work, posts continued to fill up the newest uploads page, until they ultimately had to shut down all site services, including voting, new account creation, commenting, submitting content, and viewing the newest uploads. This period of high alert lasted for over 40 hours, well into the specified raid day.
Meanwhile, as the spam raid continued, the clock had struck midnight on the 20th, signaling the beginning of the DDoS attacks. The attacks had already begun earlier on the 20th, but not to full effect. Within hours, 9gag was knocked offline in some areas, for unknown amounts of time. For several locations, 9gag was unreachable, and in other places, unusably slow. However, many servers continued to function, preventing the massive black-out the op had intended.
Nearly a day before the 4chan raid, 9gag had discovered their intentions through several posts that had surfaced on the website’s “Hot page”. The posts were in fact, set up by 4chan users, in an attempt to confuse 9gaggers. One such post was apparently written by a 4chan member acting as a 9gag member, inciting a DDoS attack on 4chan. However, the coordinates given to them were actually 9gag’s. Unaware of this, 9gag members fired upon the given coordinates, and DDoS’d themselves. Due to the servers’ massive capacity, little effect was had. 9gag, having discovered their mistake, launched a DDoS attack on 4chan’s main page, shutting it down for a small amount of time.
While the homepage was down, all the boards continued to function, allowing for continued raid coordination.
In early January 2012, users of 4chan attacked memorial pages dedicated to a 15 year old suicide victim, and promptly blamed 9gag. The trolls posted offensive and mocking materials to the page, bringing 9gag under fire from the family. This was the first instance of 4chan blaming 9gag for doing insensitive things, and was not the last.
The German Burger Contest
On January 16th, 9gag user schierer posted a picture to try to gain votes for a “9gag burger” that he had created for the McDonald’s burger contest. The 9gag burger quickly gained around 32,000 votes, putting it in first place by nearly 29,000 votes. Not to be out done, 4chan users concocted their own burger, named after moot, 4chan’s creator. The McMoot fell far behind the Mc9gag in its early stages. However, a Twitter user by the name of Matheusavs28 created a votescript for 4chan to use. Within days, the McMoot had surpassed the Mc9gag by well over 100,000 votes. The contest clearly stated that the top 20 burgers would be chosen and then tested, so for 4chan to insure dominance, they created 20 new burgers. Each burger surpassed the 9gag burger by about 20-30 thousand votes.
Batman Shooting Hoax
On July 19, 2012, during a premier of the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night trilogy, a gunman burst into a theater, firing into the crowd and killing 14 people. Soon after the attack, reports surfaced that the man had posted about the attack some weeks prior on 9gag, and that 9gag users had egged the poster on. The image that circulated has been confirmed as a fake, and the rumor was spread by /b/tards and other anti-9gaggers.