Thursday, 29 January 2009

Valediction

 "If you want to help Boxxy at all, the best thing you can do is just stop talking about her."

Boxxy as seen in the Metro Newspaper (UK) - January 22nd

Welcome to what I imagine will be the last blog entry. This will simply clear up and clarify a few things. I’ve had a cordial discussion with the CBRC leader regarding this blog and the overall situation. He pointed a few mistakes I made and explained why CBRC did what they did.  

First, the mistakes. The WT-Snacks in CBRC is not the same person as the former 4chan admin. That was a stupid error. The chat server was also wrong, minor. These have been edited out of the previous entry.
Second, there are some things I should make clear. Boxxy’s full name, phone number and address were NOT found by CBRC or included in their leaked document. Claims were made for these on /b/, these were all fake. The risk to her was therefore overstated/exaggerated in the last blog, whatever you want to call it. Over dramatised, perhaps. 

Boxxy Guevara

Furthermore I now believe that CBRC ending the Boxxy hysteria was the right decision. It brought instant closure. This was beneficial to her, and the rest of the internet, quite frankly. 
Unfortunately this was of course sullied by the leak, but I am assured that was the work of one idiot intent on fucking it all up, and was definitely not what the rest of CBRC wanted. 
That might be seem like a lame excuse to some of you, but I believe it. Call me duped if you like, but I see the remorse as sincere, and have a greater understanding of their logic and rationale. You probably need to understand their initial assumptions and mindset to truly appreciate this. It was only after the Youtube breach that they discovered their assumptions were flawed. 

Now I have truly got it through my skull that they did not release any of her crucial information, the entire thing seems less serious than I might have conveyed in the previous blog. Still, compiling information in a leak-able document remains something that I can’t agree with. 
I guess I could write a thesis on the moral ins and outs of it all but that would be of no benefit to anyone (much least myself, since I should actually be writing a dissertation right now - only 15,000 words to go!). By the way, the CBRC leader has sent Boxxy an apology. 

Good question

About this blog. I didn’t intend (and had no way to anticipate) this blog being picked up by a couple of mainstream media outlets who basically used this as a template. This was intended to be a simple rundown for people who had seen some of the Boxxy phenomenon but didn’t know the full story. 
Stimulating media interest was the last thing I wanted, this makes the blog inherently hypocritical. I heavily criticise the search for and spread of her information, yet I appear (possibly) partially responsible for spreading interest further, by spelling out an utterly bewildering series of events in relatively simple terms. 
When I saw Boxxy in the Metro (newspaper, see top image) last week, I was poised to junk the blog (as well as spew out my Pepsi through my nose), but decided it was already too late and it would be quite shitty of me to pull the rug out from under those media stories, both of which link to here. It’s settled down now, thankfully. I seriously doubt that any more media will attempt to get any mileage from Boxxy, it is over. Finished.

The currently debated wikipedia page about Boxxy (which definitely should be deleted) even labelled this blog quasi-official - which is absurd again, apologies to whoever added that line, but it is. This is not in any way official, I have had no contact with Boxxy or anyone who knows her. I cannot guarantee 100% accuracy on anything here, and I am obviously not objective. Perhaps this is the only (non-satire) attempt at a coherent narrative, but it should not gain legitimacy or been seen as reliable on that basis.

So, this is almost certainly the last entry. I’m confident that there will never be another new Boxxy video or any new development worthy of mention. Based on a few of my own deductions, and on some things CBRC mention in their statement and my discussion with their leader, I can assure you all that Boxxy herself does not want to return, and I also believe this was the case prior to the Youtube hacking. So please, do not sit around waiting for a return. It won’t happen. It’s over, done, dusted, kaput. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Google Trends

Boxxy threads still appear on /b/ but attract much less interest now. The new groundswell of people willing to troll, as claimed in the previous entry, lasted a couple of days and then subsided. Users have simply accepted her presence, a vital part of the process which would have saved a lot of trouble if it had happened two weeks ago. 
The Youtube remixes and tributes have slowed to a trickle as well, as has traffic to this blog - I sure as hell hope this entry doesn’t spark any more interest but I do feel a signing off post is necessary. Let us all recognise it as history now, and leave it be.

Unless Boxxy appears in the next Weezer video, expect this to be the last you hear from me, thanks for reading, congrats on making your way through this garbage of mine. I will still respond to emails as best I can. Don’t be alarmed if this blog does indeed vanish. I'll leave the blog up but follow the advice below.

- The Byzantinist

 "If you want to help Boxxy at all, the best thing you can do is just stop talking about her."

P.S. I have had to delete a couple of comments as they contained details about Boxxy that I explicitly withheld from the articles, as I do not want to facilitate her information being spread. I will remove all instances of this, or moderate all new comments if necessary. Also, do not expect a response if you email me asking for her details.
Credit to whoever did the Photoshop work on the images I used on here. It's difficult to credit the Anonymous. Oh, and that Twitter page is a fake.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Fall of Boxxy



After an epic two week struggle, an explosive final day seems to have brought an end to the most bizarre and controversial net saga for some time. Boxxy’s Youtube was hacked. 

Now I’ll warn you that this blog entry is at various times confusing, pointless and contains much more conjecture, speculation and opinion than the first entry. If you think the author of this blog has too much time on their hands, then you’re absolutely right. If you don’t have a basic grasp on this situation and the websites mentioned, this will all sound like nonsense. Hell, even if you followed the whole thing this will still sound like nonsense.

The particulars of this final event took place over 2 days (17th-18th Jan) on several threads on 4chan, which often ran simultaneously so were hard to follow, with the real crux occurring in private chat rooms beyond the view of this writer, thereby creating much confusion and the need to speculate. 

This entire case demonstrates some rather brutal realities of current internet culture, with lessons for all of us. 

The seemingly cold case was blown open not by /b/‘s failed ‘Operation Valkyrie‘, but by ‘Operation [Removed]’ - perpetrated by a group of at least 11 people under the banner ’Center for Boxxy Control and Restriction’ (CBRC), who appeared to have splintered from /b/ and retreated to a private chatroom in order to carry out their plan away from the frequent bans and nonsense on 4chan. 

Boxxy is now a meme

This group apparently contains remixer of Boxxy’s videos gastricpenguin - namedropped in her Jan 9th video, who appears to have gone undercover as a friendly face, to act as a go between linking her to the CBRC. 
He even divulged some of the (admittedly harmless) private messages Boxxy sent to him on Youtube, which were posted on /b/, tut tut! After her Youtube account was attacked, a CBRC file was leaked onto 4chan by a defector, containing much of their research.

------------------------------------------------

An apparent moderator lapse this past Sunday allowed Boxxy threads to populate /b/ again and remain active for longer than usual before deletion. A sudden new burst of information appeared. This meant /b/ and CBRC were working simultaneously, with /b/ about a day behind in terms of known information. 

Boxxy’s downfall was in the failure to effectively cover up the trail of accounts she has used over the years. The discovery of a much earlier Youtube account was the breakthrough. This account contains a video from December 2006, showing a girl with a strong resemblance to Boxxy, who calls herself ‘Catie’ - one of the first names mooted by /b/ as a possibility way back on ermm…January 5th. The account has not been logged into for a year.

Boxxy in December 2006

Anyway, initial doubters that this more reserved, eyeliner free girl was indeed Boxxy were quickly dismissed with a CSI style visual match that virtually confirmed it. Click to see.

From the information on the old Youtube, a Myspace account was found. The current version of the account seems to be wiped clean, with the username changed to keyboard gibberish. However, Boxxy was caught out again, this time by the Google cache which stored the page as it appeared in November 2008, as well as the first page of photos. The photo page was filled with art relating to Gaiaonline - including the user MoldyLunchboxx. A direct match. 

These pages also suggest, with a high certainty, that Boxxy - for two solid weeks the target of constant sexually orientated comments, death threats and general aggressive unpleasantries posted all over 4chan and Youtube, is not the variously quoted 22, 21 or 18, but only 16 years old.

An unfortunately prescient statement from Boxxy's old Myspace

To add to the confusion, there are at least 2 more Myspace accounts belonging to Boxxy, all of them locked out with radically altered info. One of these was last visited January 6th, which matches the date she posted her own photos on 4chan. However the final knockout blow was not in these cached Myspace pages, but another website (I will not be specific) which allowed those tracking her to find her full name, from which the hackers presumably deduced her email address.

Queen of /b/

Whilst these snippets of info were filtering through to /b/, some strange activity was seen. A thread appeared, with Boxxy’s full name, and a previously unseen, high resolution photo, followed quickly by another. The OP claimed to be at the same school as her, but in Collierville, Tennessee, in the face of substantial ties to California. Instructions were given to ‘ruin her life’.

One of the suspicious posts

Accusations began to fire. Just who would want to try and throw people off the trail and confuse them, and who would have a new, large photo of her? Boxxy herself, or a close accomplice was the consensus. They must have caught wind of her full name being found, and merely be attempting to mitigate the damage by stirring the pot with false leads. 
It sounded semi-plausible, but, unbeknownst to the vast majority of /b/ at that moment, the CBRC had long since uncovered a photobucket account which was later seen to contain the same photos, so the implication is obvious, members of the CBRC were trolling /b/ with the photos in a attempt to throw them off, as they themselves were close to breaking into her accounts and did not want Anonymous to do it first.

Multiple alleged addresses and phone numbers were posted on a thread. I am unaware of what the poster was basing his claims on. There then followed some absurd and disturbing posts by people who claim to live nearby, saying they were going to drive over and take a look. We have no way of verifying if they were telling the truth, or if any of the claimed locations were in any way accurate but the mere possibility of this is shocking indeed. Thankfully, these were almost certainly fake - one of the addresses was a mall, one of the phone numbers was for a chiropractor.

Yes, this actually happened....

Within a couple of hours, CBRC had breached her Youtube account, via successfully guessing the secret answer for her email account, deduced from the stack of information they uncovered. Or phishing her with a fake email, depending on who you listen to. They then made her videos private, uploading a video warning her to never post another video again. This attracted 1000 comments within an hour and became the most commented video of the day on Youtube. So that brought it to an end, in theory. They had removed the ‘cancer’. 

Rapidly, the comments for their video began to fill with alleged lists of the IP’s of CBRC members. The claimed source is a ‘4chan admin’. Vengeance is promised. (Tip: nothing will happen.) For some reason, the hackers videos were then removed, with the original videos restored. On January 20th, the boxxybabee account was suspended. 

They probably won't

So after all that, was the ‘chemo’ even effective? No, not really. A look at /b/ will reveal Boxxy threads are still being posted. By essentially martyring the Boxxy meme, CBRC have simply created a new groundswell of people willing to troll with her image, as well as genuine resentment at their actions. 


-------------------------------------------

COMMENT

The actions of CBRC present some moral conundrums. Their methods could be construed as either harmless net detective work to eliminate the account of someone that was being used as a means of ruining the online experience of many people, or flat out highly invasive stalking. 

At the end of the day, it’s just the internet. It is taken far too seriously. A girl made some videos for her friends on Gaiaonline, which became popular through no fault of her own. She then did what most people would do, and responded to this intense interest with another innocent and harmless video. What could go wrong?

Now she has her name, age, dozens of photos, school, internet accounts, alleged phone numbers, and alleged location available online, along with the details of several uninvolved friends. Nobody could have predicted she would create so much chaos, not least Boxxy herself. She had no idea what she was getting herself into by posting a response video.

This entire debacle ultimately stems from those who spammed /b/ with her image and pissed off so many people. CBRC, in attacking the ‘cancer’ had no choice but go to for the head of the snake, as it were. But then we must ask, so what? 4chan is just an image board. Is it really that important? What right does Anonymous, CBRC or anyone else have to dictate what Boxxy can do online, or what other people post? Again, the internet is taken too seriously, by all parties (especially me).

The CBCR warning

It all boils down to this: a 16 year old girl had the details of her life published online, because some people didn’t like how often other people posted pictures of her. That is bullshit. That is ludicrous. There is no way to justify it.

Will Boxxy return? Not likely, if she has any sense. While CBRC members can be seen gloating and goading about their victory over a teenager on Youtube, the entire episode has a sad end, as Boxxy is intimidated, effectively blackmailed, to never post another video. If she does, she will likely cause herself substantial unnecessary hassle.

The lesson for all of us here, obvious as it is, is to think about what you divulge online. Is your Myspace secure? Is your Facebook account private? What forum accounts contain your details, and can they be traced and linked to each other? Everything you write online can potentially be linked, as if it were a jigsaw, and a profile of your life built up. I know plenty of people who have publicly viewable Facebook accounts containing their D.O.B, phone numbers, emails, addresses, places they work, go to college and so on. This is lunacy. This is asking for trouble. Boxxy didn’t do this, yet was still tracked down. 

Hacked

We could commend the CBRC for this statement, in which they acknowledge that Catie was na├»ve about what might happen and just what 4chan/the internet is capable of, and that their threats are ‘empty and psychological’, as opposed to the specific threats seen on 4chan. They go on to say ‘no one has any actual reason to ruin her personal life’. 

We could commend, but it looks like little more than empty gesture on their part. It’s all well and good saying that in hindsight, but the fact is, they failed to secure their own clique, and their little dossier of information about her is now online. Realistically, they have to say that, to appear rational and humane in the face of a situation they explicitly helped develop. It is the following quote from their statement that lays it out:

“First, we, CBCR, pretty much made all the breakthroughs in the investigation. I don't care if it sounds arrogant, but if you look through our now-leaked dox, you can see that everything that was found on 4chan was found by us beforehand.”

There is much scope for speculation here. In my view, CBRC were the only people who had enough interest left to want to pursue information on Boxxy. The fact that they allowed a document to leak, combined with the suspicious posts trying to mislead /b/, leads to the conclusion that the majority or all new leads that made it onto /b/ came from consistent leaks from the CBRC. If so, the sad conclusion of this episode is entirely their fault. They say there is no reason to ruin her personal life, but if someone does, they facilitated it.

/b/ summed up in one post

Yes, it is possible that Anonymous would have uncovered all of her information on their own, but much less likely, owing to the number of bans being handed out for discussing her, the waning interest in her, and the overall lack of organization of Anonymous. If she had simply not released any more videos (and CBRC state they did not believe she would release any more, based on the reaction to her Jan 9th video), and CBRC had done nothing, interest would have taken its natural course towards the exit, and she would have retained her privacy.

Give people anonymity, and they become de-individuated, whether it be on an image board or in a rioting mob. The same internet machine that could propel you to the top of the Youtube charts and hand you online fame will happily chew you up and spit you back out just as quickly, with zero remorse or consideration for the consequences. This is the reality of the internet today, this case is not the first, and surely not the last. Catie, at least, well and truly learnt the power of the world wide web. Somehow, I doubt that will be of much consolation to her.



P.S. There are a succession of imposter accounts on Youtube. Not a single one has a shred of authenticity, don’t be fooled.

A few examples of fakes:
www.youtube.com/user/boxxiebabee  
www.youtube.com/user/therealboxxybabee 
www.youtube.com/user/boxxxxybabeee 
www.youtube.com/user/boxxyfriendsonly 
www.youtube.com/user/B0xxxybabee 
www.youtube.com/user/boxxybaabee 
www.youtube.com/user/boxxybabee2 
www.youtube.com/user/thenewboxxybabee

And of course:
www.youtube.com/user/Boxxyakamoldybread 

P.P.S Some distasteful and blatantly fake photoshopped news items are being posted on /b/ claiming Boxxy is dead. The fakes are very poorly written and contain numerous flaws. Again, don’t be fooled.



Friday, 16 January 2009

The Rise of Boxxy



It's Friday January 16th. On Youtube, the user 'boxxybabee', has 21,800 subscribers, 1.4 million video views and over 38,000 comments on her videos and channel, yet she only signed up 8 days ago, and has only 3 videos. Many people were, and are confused. How did this happen? By documenting what I personally saw, I will show you.

The story essentially begins back in April 2006 when 'Boxxy' joined the anime forum/game based site Gaia Online under the username 'M o l d yLunchboxx'. It appears Boxxy returned from a Gaia hiatus at the very end of 2007, and embarked on a posting spree which lasted a week. It was during this first week of January 2008 that she made two Youtube videos for two fellow Gaia users, '4DM1RALAWESOME' and another referred to simply as 'Ant'.

Boxxy's last login to Youtube was February 2008, and for Gaia Online, April 2008.

The story now takes a leap forward to December 27th, 2008, when, according to Encyclopedia Dramatica, the video 'FOAR 4DD1 FRUM BOXXY' was posted on i-am-bored.com. This was spotted by someone at 7chan, who embedded the video at the top of the random '/b/' board. 

This writer first saw FOAR 4DD1 on January 3rd, 2009, when the video was posted as a 'you rage you lose thread' on the /b/ board at 4chan, with the 'Expert' level afforded to those who would withstand the entire video without wanting to tear out their hair or hurt small animals. /b/tards saw what has been labelled 'the most insane display we've ever seen on youtube' and 'the cutest girl you've ever seen'. This was the true start of the Boxxy phenomenon.

Over the next couple of days, interest grew, and Boxxy threads began to populate /b/. Why had her videos lain virtually unviewed and untouched for 51 weeks only to be brought up now? Who was this girl? What was the cause of her unique behaviour - her vivacious mannerisms, head bobbing, jaw grinding, random accents and rambling? Was she really 21 as her profile stated? Speculation began. Some pulled out their wikiPHD and speculated, tourettes? ADHD? Drug abuse - cocaine, ecstacy, meth? No, just too much coffee, according to others, or simple acting up to the camera. Comparisons to Zed from Police Academy and Heath Ledger's Joker were immediate.

Regardless, a split already began to emerge at /b/. Half of /b/ appeared smitten, captivated by this pretty, wacky girl drenched in eyeliner, but the rest were having their patience tested. Whilst a group of /b/tards declared 'Operation Valkyrie' on Boxxy - intending to find, raid and destroy as much as possible - youtube, myspace, facebook, photobuckets, etc in search of an identity and the 'upper boob' sign mentioned in 41DD, others simply sat and dismayed at the whole effort. Why try and raid the accounts of someone who hasn't logged into any known accounts for almost a year? Many /b/tards resented the obsession with someone who was not only inactive, but a Gaiafag, emo and a camwhore to boot. As one naysayer put it, it was: 'proof that /b/ is full of 13 y.o boys'.

The known accounts, Youtube and Gaia, were quickly spammed with the Operation Valkyrie tag. Via analysis of so called 'Gaiafaggotry' forum posts, /b/tards extracted two pictures of Boxxy from her Gaia friends photobucket accounts, and threw out possible names.

On January 6th, someone claiming to be Boxxy posted two previously unseen photos on /b/. A troll, surely? The same day, her Youtube account disappeared and her Gaia account became inaccessible to the public. Was this the real Boxxy intervening, or simply trolls posting photos from photobucket under her guise, and hacking into her accounts and shutting them down? It was also on the 6th that a clearly fake Youtube account was created - 'Boxxyakamoldybread'. Even though the videos are clearly of lower resolution than the originals, some were fooled by this, and some probably still are.

Operation Valkyrie was rapidly being considered a failure. No myspace had been discovered, no email, no facebook had been delivered, aside from some obviously wrong semi-lookalikes. Her location was much debated, some claimed evidence of ties to various locales in California - Palo Alto, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sacramento. Others said she was in Florida, or even Australia. Pinpointing her accent also proved fruitless. Despite a semi consensus on a Midwestern/Minnesota aspect, claims were put forward for 'anywhere down the West Coast', New York, the South, Alaska, England and parts of Eastern Europe - Poland and Bulgaria in particular.

The 'boxxy lovers' of 4chan were by now declaring her the 'Queen of /b/' and a instant new meme. The haters labelled this as a perfect example of a forced meme. To them, she was the epitome of the 'cancer killing /b/'. Battle lines were being drawn. Boxxy threads began to fill with spam posts of 'sage this shit' and 'die in a fire'. To many it was clearly a newfag v oldfag war, but there were deviations, with some self proclaimed oldfags siding with the boxxy lovers.

On January 8th, another Youtube account was created - 'boxxybabee' with the two original videos re-uploaded. When this writer saw said account, it had no subscribers and 10 comments, with the message 'i'm awsum, new video tommorrow 01/09/09'. Was this legit? The videos were of the same resolution as the original, either someone had done some great ripping or the real Boxxy was back.

On the 9th, Boxxy delivered. She addressed 'recent events', said she was in fact free of drugs and personality disorders, and proved it actually was her posting her photos on /b/. Whilst /b/tards were scrambling to find her identity and spamming her accounts, she was there, watching.

The manic interest in this new video created chaos on /b/, with the majority of new threads devoted to Boxxy and her new video. This interest generated over 70,000 views within 12 hours, pushing the video onto the first page for most viewed of the day on Youtube. A day later, and the video had reached #1 with over 300,000 views, accompanied by hundreds of new subscribers every hour. It is obvious that most of these viewers would have no idea what Boxxy was talking about in her video.

/b/ was now at war. The slew of Boxxy threads were under attack, quickly filled with 'DIE IN A FIRE' repeated to the line maximum and posted 10 times in a row. Increasing numbers threw in the towel and declared they weren't visiting /b/ for a week, a month, or ever again. Identical chaos was occurring at 7chan, with the /b/ first page 100% filled with Boxxy at some points. On the 10th, with Boxxy now approaching 400,000 views and 10,000 subscribers, Operation Clampdown was declared. If Moot did not ban the users spamming boxxy threads on the 4chan /b/, the site would be brought down via a DDOS. 
As the attack time of 00:00 GMT approached, users began to charge their cannons. Some posted their desktops, with 4 or 5 nefarious programs open, prepared for zero hour. Within 30 minutes, 4chan became sluggish, and then crashed, displaying the desired 404. 4chan had essentially descended into civil war, with one side deciding to kill everyone including themselves, it was unprecedented.
The site returned hours later, and the 'cancer' instantly spread again, but not for long. The moderators had listened, and hoards were slapped with 2 day bans merely for mentioning the name 'Boxxy', or even posting in a thread about her. This appears to have been largely effective, though Boxxy threads are still relatively frequent on /b/.

                                                             4chan about to get nuked

On the 12th, Youtube 'celeb' Sxephil included Boxxy in the intro for his new video, and used her face as the thumbnail. Personally, I found it extremely cynical of Phil, a Youtube partner who makes money from views, to advertise his extremely boring video about Joe the Plumber with Boxxy's face. What a dick. Worse still, the exposure to his 310,000 subscribers sent several thousand more people to the Boxxy videos.
Entirely ignorant of the backstory you just read, a wave of Sxephil-sent users proclaimed 'wow, sxephil made you popular, thank him in a vid!'. No people, you're wrong. He did nothing.

So, that's the story up until now. Being a young female, Boxxy has unfortunately yet inevitably attracted reams of ridiculous and disgusting comments from the hormonally challenged, braindead Youtube masses, so it is hardly surprising she has not rushed to bring out another video and appears to go 24-36 hours between logins. 

There are many patently absurd theories about Boxxy. If you listen to the drooling idiocy leaking through the interweb, you'll be told she is in fact an actress hired by Gaia Online to promote their product (that's why she says she moved on to bigger and better things, huh, morons?), the whole thing is a giant trolling exercise meticulously planned by her and accomplices, the entire thing was perpertrated by 7chan users attempting to cripple 4chan, she's a paid actress akin to lonelygirl15, or most bizarrely of all, a claim has been put forward that she is a fraud mocking the mannerisms of a 15 year old girl who lives in Chicago, orchestrated by said girl's obsessed crush who is angry at his unrequited love. Some people actually believe this.

Well, there you have it. That's pretty much what happened.