The Streisand effect in action: Twitter hacking – cyxymu twitter followers increased six times after the denial of service attack

Mike Masnick – who I had the pleasure of meeting in person when we both spoke at the State of the net conference in Washington DC coined a lovely phrase called the Streisand effect

According to wikipedia ..

The Streisand effect is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be widely publicized. Examples of such attempts include censoring a photograph, a number, a file, or a website (for example via a cease-and-desist letter). Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet, or distributed on file-sharing networks.

The effect is related to John Gilmore’s observation that “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”.[3]. Mike Masnick originally coined the term Streisand effect in reference to a 2003 incident where Barbra Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and for US$50 million in an attempt to have the aerial photo of her house removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs, citing privacy concerns.[1][4][5] Adelman stated that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the California Coastal Records Project.[6] As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially and it became popular on the Internet, with more than 420,000 people visiting the site over the next month.[7]

It seems last week’s twitter denial of service attack, was targeting a single user Cyxymu

No one had heard of this person and he/she does not blog in English

I checked when I first heard two days ago cyxymu had 307 followers. Now they have 1953 followers – which means they increased six times over two days ..

We observed the same phenomenon when Chinese hackers targeted the Melbourne film festival site and thus ended up publicising Rebiya Kadeer , the leader of the World Uighur Congress – whose talk they tried to suppress.

The Streisand effect is interesting .. And a defence mechanism of the Internet – future such attempts should note that they actually succeed in publicising the very thing that the denial of service seeks to suppress due to the Open nature of the Internet itself