Creating disinformation: Archiving fake links on the Wayback Machine viewed through the lens of routine activity theory
Keywords:Internet Archive, Wayback Machine, Cyberattack, Fake links, Social media, Disinformation, Defamation, Pornography
This case study uses routine activity theory to contextualise the method used by an external bad actor to create fake links within the Internet Archive for the Web site Yourbrainonporn.com. It then discusses the social media campaign which occurred two years later using screenshots of these fake links accessed via the Wayback Machine to defame the site owner. An organised disinformation campaign on social media began attacking the site owner of Yourbrainonporn.com (a pornography recovery Web site) for allegedly, accidentally, posting evidence on his own site of him searching for and hosting hardcore pornography. In fact, the list of purportedly incriminating links did not point to any content, but the defamers’ intentions seemed to have always been to set up a smear campaign against a particular site and its author. Options are discussed for the Internet Archive to provide improved guardianship and to educate the public to minimise harm from this type of social media attack based on screenshots of fake URLs.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 First Monday
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright to their work published in First Monday. Please see the footer of each article for details.