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Helen Popkin
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msnbc.com
updated 7/20/2010 5:37:10 PM ET 2010-07-20T21:37:10

Hey. So you know when Godzilla and Ghidorah get in a fight, it's best just to get the hell out of the way? I'm not saying who's who here, but puckish Internet presence 4chan and relentless media gossip blog Gawker are reportedly at odds. And today at least, 4chan appears to be winning.

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Try accessing the Gawker website. If the page fails to load, you'll see what I mean. According to the media blog, it's experiencing an attack from 4chan members in retaliation for criticism Gawker dished out to the "Internet's scariest hive mind," 4chan.org's /b/ message board, and Tumblr, for the relentless harassment of an 11-year-old girl.

"Jessi Slaughter" (not her real name) is the 11-year-old viral media star reportedly under "24/7 police surveillance" with the rest of her family. Slaughter went from foul-mouth participant on an adolescent gossip board to full-on, death-threat-receiving viral star after she posted a video of her seemingly apoplectic father's "epic rant" cussing out the Internet for the (comparatively minor) cyber-harassment of his daughter.

(Previous pranks attributed to 4Chan members include denial-of-service attacks on other websites, skyrocketing " Justin Bieber Syphilis " to the top of Google searches and the invention of "Rick Rolling.")

As that video, "You Dun Goofed Up" climbed past 1 million YouTube views last week, Slaughter continued to post videos of her foul-mouthed threats to those who spoke ill of her online. As Gawker's Adrian Chen documents in his July 16 post, "How the Internet Beat Up an 11-Year-Old Girl," things got worse.

Slaughter's mom updated Gawker on the harassment in a follow-up post, and Chen reported Sunday, "So far, things haven't escalated past phone calls and online vandalism of Jessi's social-networking accounts. But (Jessi's mom) says the family's life has been completely upended by a stream of prank calls."

On Monday, Gawker reported that its tech team noticed issues around noon ET, and took measures to circumvent outside attacks on its site. A.J. Daulerio of Gawker-owned blog Deadspin tweeted, "Ominous emails from Gawker quality control: "It appears that we are under attack again and are seeing major problems as a result."

A scan of the 4chan /b/ board revealed a discussion on the failed attack, writing "gawker is still posting ozzy snorting icecream. the their admin is laughing at /b/." (sic)

Today, however a second wave proved more fruitful. Gawker previously reported that 4chan members had turned their attention to Adrian Chen, author of the "Jessi Slaughter" reports. As illustrated by this tweet posted today by another Gawker scribe, Ryan Tate, the focus continues to widen: "Friends: If you get any weird emails about me, it's probably from a 4chan hacker trying to trick you. Just FYI!"

Friend Helen A.S. Popkin on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. What are ya, chicken?

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