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The Sneaky Hat is a photo fad that involves taking a photo where the subject holds a hat over their bare breasts or genitalia.
On November 15th, 2011, a Facebook fan page was created that encouraged male teens to post pictures of themselves holding a hat over their genitals. The page was launched by a group of 15 year olds in Dalby Queensland as a joke amongst their circles, but it quickly gained more than 10,000 followers, according to the local news site NineMSN.
On November 16th, 2011, the first Urban Dictionary definition was submitted and a thread with several sneaky hat photos was posted to the Body Building forums. The following day, YouTuber maxmoefoe uploaded a video criticizing the fad titled “Sneaky Hat – Facebook Porn – New Meme.”
The same day, the domain for sneakyhatboys.com was registered with the hosting service Go Daddy. The Yahoo Answers question “What is with ‘The Sneaky Hat’ thing on facebook?” was posted on November 20th, 2011. Several replacement sneaky hat fan pages have popped up on Facebook, the most popular being “The Sneaky Hat Ladies” which has accumulated 5,125 likes as of November 21st, 2011. Photos can be found on Tumblr under the tag “sneaky hat.”
On November 21st, Queensland police launched an investigation into the originators of “The Sneaky Hat” group, according to 9MSN news report. The original page was started by 15 year-old students from Dalby, Queensland “for a laugh” amongst their circles.
“We just thought it was funny, but after a while it started like getting wild, out of control,” the Sneaky Hat website’s founder told ninemsn.
Controversy: Anti-Child Abuse Laws & Censorship
In Australia, the issue of online child abuse has been frequently linked to censorship laws under Stephen Conroy, the current minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in the Gillard administration. Since the commencement of a federal cyber-safety plan in 2008, the Ministry has been pursuing a mandatory content filter on Internet service providers (ISPs) to censor “inappropriate material,” mainly to protect children. In June 2011, Australian ISPs Telstra and Optus confirmed they will voluntarily block access to blacklists of websites provided by the federal government and Interpol.
Search queries for “sneaky hat” rose significantly in November of 2011, the same month that the original Facebook fan page was created.
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