She was earmarked as the next celebrity to be targeted by the #Celebgate nude photo leak scandal with a spooky countdown clock.
But it looks like the threat to Hollywood star Emma Watson as part of what’s become know as “Fappening” was a bizarre hoax.
Emma’s named DID appear on anarchic message board 4chan – where the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Hayden Panettiere and Amber Heard have already featured.
But it was a different website that emerged moments later – with a countdown clock threatening to release pictures in five days – that now seems to have been a total fake.
The site featured a countdown clock on a thread titled “Emma You Are Next” featuring a photo of the Harry Potter actress wiping a tear from her eye. It also included a note that read, “Never Forget, the biggest to come thus far.”
But in a further twist, it now looks like a viral marketing company was behind the website – and possibly the messages too.
So-called Rantic Marketing has claimed responsibility for the threat, redirected Emmayouarenext.com to its website, posting a confession and a crossed-out version of the 4chan logo and the message “#shutdown4chan”.
Rantic said that the aim was to draw attention to the illegal sharing of pictures by 4chan users. The company has been linked to other ‘viral’ projects, including the release of rumours about a major NASA announcement in 2013, which turned out to be a music video.
They claim on their site: “We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in the past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored.
“Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature — and will be one step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org.”
And they issued the below string of tweets earlier today.
[Now Amber Heard nude pictures as leaked as Emma Watson gets Celebgate threat]
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