Digg: Social Media Consumer Revolt

May 1, 2007

Uh… yeah, as someone who has used Digg off and on for nearly a year now, it’s worth mentioning when every single frakking story on the front page is, well, creative variations on the same story: the encryption key for a certain new video format.

Digg banned the original poster, so others took matters into their own hands and posted the number on their own sites and submitted them to Digg. After a certain point, I guess none of the moderators at Digg could do anything about it. The original story (which seems to be gone) got 15,000 diggs, which has got to be the highest number ever which is pretty freaking huge (correction: commenter Ross notes that the Apple iPhone story got 22,250 Diggs and is likely the most Dugg story ever). A super popular article peters out at 3,000 diggs.

At this point, it seems this “meme” has landed on technology blogs and the number is appearing in comments everywhere I look.

This must be talked about on the next episode of Diggnation the podcast, because the rules are: Kevin and Alex talk about the biggest stories of the week. You don’t get much bigger than 15,000 Diggs.

Personally, I think it’s refreshing to see social media send the message: you can’t stop ideas from spreading. Once a meme hits the net, it’s everyone’s. All corporations should plan accordingly, whether the information is legal or not. It’s also worth noting that while Digg is totally justified in taking the numbers down for legal reasons, Digg lives and dies by the community it fostered, whereas the community doesn’t care. They’ll simply move onto another social news site if Digg goes away.

Ain’t technology entertaining?

Update: Kevin Rose Speaks.

Kevin’s blog post has garnered 19,360 diggs. Interesting quote:

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’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.

Looks like Digg will be shut down.

Additional Reading: ParisLemon, Pronet Advertising: The Reason Why Digg Removed That Story, Houston Chronicle, Forbes


  1. Ross says:

    I wouldn’t bet my life on it, but I *think* that the iphone story is the one that has the most diggs (http://www.digg.com/apple/Apple_Announces_iPhone_2) @ 22k.

    I suspect todays 15k hd-dvd post would have broken 22k if it wasn’t pulled…

  2. webomatica says:

    Ah yeah, I think you’re right: 22570 diggs. I’ll add that to the article.

  3. tunequest says:

    AACS kinda dug this hole for themselves when it published the hd-dvd key in a court document (a public record).

    But the behavior of the “digg community” (to whatever extant that exists) is just appalling. I don’t want to get into the ethics, “rightness” or legality of either side on this debate, but the immature mob actions of digg’s users is pure anarchy, which is quite off-putting.

    I think it’s telling that all this passion has sprung up because of the code that will enable copying of hd-dvd movies. Freedom of information is a noble cause, but it seems to take the potential for “free” movies to spring all the warriors into action.

  4. webomatica says:

    Tunequest, good points. I do agree that the revolt was quite revolting in terms of mob mentality, but I do think it’s no surprise knowing the community Digg has been fostering over the past few months – a bunch of party animals who say whatever they want with no consequences, in the name of free beer and hot babes. The sheer number of digg users also makes anonimity possible even with a login which can also foster bad behavior.

    I think Tony Hung has a good take on it, that as you say AACS kinda dug this hole for themeselves, Digg “dugg” this hole for themselves as well.

  5. tunequest says:

    “a bunch of party animals who say whatever they want with no consequences, in the name of free beer and hot babes.”

    If that’s not bubble mentality, I don’t know what is.

    But now that digg has “dugg” (ahhh, puns) in its heels, the legal eagle in me is fascinated to see how this turns out.

    As an aside, I did a Google search for “the number” and it returned 44,000 pages.

  6. Ross says:

    I found the whole thing quite fascinating, but at the same time it made reading digg completely worthless yesterday. I just woke up so I haven’t read digg yet today, but I glanced at the front page titles (via netvibes) and things seem to be back to normal.

  7. engtech says:

    Armchair activism at it’s best. Copy and paste a 32-digit key all over the internet versus preventing something like the DMCA from becoming law.

    All of us tech types are guilty of this.

  8. webomatica says:

    eng, true, if only the power of the digg mob could be harnessed towards something more useful than defending the “right” to pirate movies.