Was this the first virtual riot?
After receiving a removal demand, the guys over at Digg deleted a story that included the decryption key for HD DVDs and what followed was absolute bedlam. Digg users began submitting story after story that included the decryption key. These stories were quickly deleted and many of the offending users had their accounts suspended, which only made matters worse.
Before long, the Digg homepage was completely filled with stories containing the decryption key and there was nothing they could do to stop it.
Digg CEO Jay Adelson eventually responded on the company blog:
I just wanted to explain what some of you have been noticing around some stories that have been submitted to Digg on the HD DVD encryption key being cracked.
This has all come up in the past 24 hours, mostly connected to the HD-DVD hack that has been circulating online, having been posted to Digg as well as numerous other popular news and information websites. Weâ€™ve been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights. In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key that have been brought to our attention.
Needless to say, his post did not help the situation. And after finally realizing that the situation was completely out of control, Digg founder Kevin Rose posted the following:
But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, youâ€™ve made it clear. Youâ€™d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we wonâ€™t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.
If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.
For a day, at least, Digg users didn’t just vote on the news… they were the news.
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