Reports are spreading that AT&T is now blocking 4chan.org’s «/b/»-section.
Firing one of the first shots in the net neutrality war, AT&T has blocked 4chan’s /b/ image board. AT&T subscribers are unable to connect to /b/ and /r9k/ (both of which are hosted on img.4chan.org). However, subscribers can get on any of the so-called «worksafe» boards that 4chan.org offers.
The problem seems to be present only for wired connections only (AT&T Mobility customers are not affected). The problem is not caused by an DNS-error, as traceroutes indicates that AT&T is dropping img.4chan.org requests in the AT&T network.
Slashdot, Digg & Reddit are now running stories that are rapidly being upvoted about the topic.
As citizens of a free internet, what do we think about this kind of censorship?
UPDATED 1: Confirmation comes from several Reddit users that the website has indeed been blocked in a number of areas in the US and that it is not a technical issue.
UPDATED 2: A mere 5 hours after the problems were first reported on Reddit, sources on /b/ say that members of Anonymous has already started planning retaliation towards AT&T – amongst other things posting personal information about AT&T executives. One might quietly wonder if the AT&T megacorp. knows what’s it up against – with 4chan often being referred to as “The Internet Hate Machine”.
UPDATED 3: It turns out 15.5% of all US internet users use AT&T DSL, so this is quite a big problem. It will severly affect 4chan, both in regards of traffic and advertising volumes.
UPDATED 4: moot, the founder of 4chan, officially acknowledges the ban – calling for disconcerned users to «call or write customer support and corporate immediately»: http://status.4chan.org … Somehow, I get a feeling they’re gonna do a lot more than that, moot.
UPDATED 5: From rumors on /b/, it seems 4chan’s first retaliatory strike will be towards Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T. The Consumerist has more. There are also murmurs about the AT&T block being put into place because of supposed mass DDoS-attacks to and from img.4chan.org, but so far there has been no official, verifiable response from AT&T.
UPDATED 6: 4chan’s current gameplan evolving over at Encyclopedia Dramatica (Great stuff!). Also, from reports gathered on Reddit, it seems this block allegedly is because of massive DDoS-attacks against img.4chan.org. The reports doesn’t say anything about why AT&T would block 15.5% of all US internet users from using a specific website without any warning, though.
UPDATED 7: This article is now no. 1 on Digg.com – and has received more than 120.000 visitors in less than 10 hours. For now, I guess 4chan and Anon is showing AT&T its strength in pure numbers. Help spread the word, we need to raise awareness of this issue and Net neutrality.
UPDATED 8: According to CentralGadget, 4chan is now UNBLOCKED by AT&T. AT&T says they were «following the practices of their policy department», but that they have restored network-wide access to all areas of 4chan. Shitstorm averted? Also, according to CentralGadget, 4chan is currently down «due to a large DDOS attack, affecting most of 4chan’s servers.» This appears unrelated to the AT&T blockade, but may have been triggered by the high-profile attention that 4chan has received during the past 24 hours.