Digg Goes Ape$#@*!

A wide-scale user revolt is disrupting popular social news networking Digg. It’s a protest over Digg acquiescing to MPAA pressure and deleting a 15,000+ dugg story about a crack for the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray DRM system.

Now, every single story on the front page contains the cracked number in some way.

The madness began after not only was the initial story deleted, but the user’s account was deleted as well. Other people who submitted stories linking to the number also got their accounts deleted and their sites received takedown notices. Even people who submitted stories about the deleting of other accounts, stories which did not contain the number, also got deleted. That’s when things really got bonkers.

Users are hiding the number in all sorts ways. One story claimed that a new Jules Verne manuscript was found, entitled, “09:F9:11:02:9D:74:E3:5B:D8:… Leagues Under the Sea.” Others link to pictures of the number. A new one says Jesus has “the secret key.” Others coyly ask, “anyone know what this number is?” Diggers are digging the stories like crazy, trying to keep the number on the front page and thumb their nose at Digg and the MPAA.

Screencap of the chaos, inside…


Fostering internal civil disobedience cements Digg’s status as a democratic news site. The question is whether it can endure what it created. Will all the stories get removed? Will all the users that submitted them get banned? Will Kevin Rose get his panties sued off if they don’t fully comply with the MPAA’s directive? Will people ever understand that trying to ban something on the internet only ends up making it propagate like meth bunnies?!?!

It’ll probably be all over by morning, with only a top-ranked Digg story to recap the memories. — BEN POPKEN

RELATED: The New HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Hack: What It Might Mean For Us [Gadget Lab]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jeff318 says:

    Oh boy, leaving the key in the screenshot… asking for trouble?


  2. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    At first I was like, “Whoaaa… Digg getting spammed, wtf?” Then I read some more and it all made sense… Total Streisand Effect.

  3. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    ^^ Streisand Effect. Sorry, got a little retarded with my link code… brain said one thing, fingers said another.

  4. timmus says:

    My money is on this being a great thing for Digg, rather than a fiasco. More publicity for them after the whole thing blows over. After all, it can’t really be that hard for them to automatically reject stories that form a regexp match with parts of the key.

  5. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    I wondered if y’all would comment on this. I don’t do Digg, and only passively monitor what goes on over there. That said, apeshit seems to be the correct term. Lots of flinging of feces to go along with the whining. Oh, lost innocence of youth.

    Any chance of a post tomorrow (later today) on the actual code: what it means, how it would be used etc. Not a “hacking” post per se, but an information piece on why I should care about hexadecimal numbers.

  6. mantari says:

    I find that very fascinating. Kind of in a 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 sort of way.

  7. Karl says:

    @umlaut75: That hex number is a key that will decrypt all HD-DVD discs on the market and render their fancy copy protection system useless.

    I really don’t see why they care. They can change the key on future discs, and current titles have already been distributed via P2P networks.

  8. diggtatorship says:

    The issue has a lot less to do with the code itself. The real reason for the revolt is that people are just now realizing what many people have suspected for a while; that is that the Digg staff regularly censors legitimate content.

    It started with a few stories that contained ‘the number’ being deleted. Most people would agree that this was acceptable.

    The problem is, they didn’t just delete the stories and comments that contained ‘the number’ but they also banned the user’s who had submitted them.

    Afterwards there were a number of stories about how Digg was censoring content. Most of these stories discussed the censorship without disclosing ‘the number’. These were legitimate stories which were then censored and the submitters were also banned.

    After this, the whole community went ape-shit and started fighting back against the corrupt Digg staff and their hypocrisy.

    I’ve know this was going on for months(hence my username) so it’s nice to finally see this dirty laundry get aired out a bit.

  9. its my feeling that how digg handles this in the next 24 hours will dictate their future.

    people there are really upset. there´s no way that digg can stop the spam unless they reach some type of new agreement with their users.

    I think the problem began when digg deleted the story with 16,000 diggs. I mean c´mon, that was the 2nd biggest story of the year, then it suddenly disappeared. No announcement, no explanation. nothing.

    They should´ve at least been upfront. It was almost 24 hours before they responded, and only after diggers massively protested.

    By this point the snowball is well on its way downhill. good luck digg, i hardly knew ya

  10. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    @Karl: So the bigger issue is in fact that a website has protocol to protect itself from possible lawsuits, and I shouldn’t focus on the code itself?

    Digg imploding is humorous to watch, but it’s nothing really new. Almost every day (thanks popurls!) there are stories on the main page about how Digg doesn’t respect its users. Censorship, certain users “controlling” everything blah, blah, blah. However, the vitriol shown over the last few hours is previously unmatched, to my knowledge. @diggtatorship: Still, if the Digg staff is corrupt, why bother going there?

    I will say this–HD-DVDs also recieved a boost today. They will become much more immediately popular over Blu-Ray to anyone who fancies him/herself a hacker.

  11. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    The “related” link helped out my questions nicely.

    I see now that the issue is much more of a Digg community issue, as the key itself is a few months old. Also, my lawsuit point would seem to be moot. Oh well, foolish overzealousness tied to late night ramblings never hurt anyone did they? Apologies to anyone who got/gets worked up over my previous posts.

    Goodnight, Gracie.

  12. Digg also responsible for the breakup of Beatles

  13. BillyShears says:

    Go to bed or watch the Digg revolution…? This is an impossible decision. :(

  14. matdevdug says:

    I have been a Digg user since it began and this is huge. The whole digg community is up in arms because this violates everything we are about. If Kevin and the Digg developers don’t come clean with us, this is going to continue for as long as it has to. They deleted the second biggest story of the year and made the biggest mistake they ever have. It has nothing to do with the code itself but rather that Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, went against everything Digg is about. If they don’t handle this well, Digg is never going to recover.

  15. ColinColin says:

    Kevin rose responds on his blog


    Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

    In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

    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.

    Digg on,


  16. spanky says:

    I’ve been up watching it, too. Looks like maybe digg just now went down, though.

  17. diggtatorship says:

    @me “Still, if the Digg staff is corrupt, why bother going there?”

    Because, despite my loathing of the Digg staff, it’s still the best site on the net to get all your news in one place. There are alternatives, but none of them really provide the same experience.

    I’m confident that Digg will survive this. I hope that they learn from it but deep down I know nothing will change.

    At the very least, people will have lost some respect for the Digg guys, which has been a long time coming.

  18. rugger_can says:

    Serves Digg right. Rose always claimed to stand against DRM and the evil’s of the MPAA and the RIAA. Now he bends over for them at the tip of the hat.

    I don’t even care about the key its just sad they are allowing the MPAA to tell them how they run their site.

  19. Skeptic says:

    still, if the Digg staff is corrupt, why bother going there?

    I don’t and I think a lot of other people will stop based on this.

    Diggtatorship summarizes the case very well. The point isn’t that Digg censored the number but that the censored all stories that touched on the issue regardless of the number of votes. The censoring of stories about the censoring shows Digg to be extremely untrustworthy which contrasts with the grassroots the-users-make-the-site image they try to portray. Now they’ve been shown for the corporate sockpuppets they now are.

  20. rugger_can says:


    Actually fyi this “number” is the proccess key for the AASC LA encryption for both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

  21. Skeptic says:

    We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration.

    No, I suspect all you had to do was redact the number. At the very least, this explanation is partial BS since Digg also censored stories that were about the censorship rather than the number.

  22. rugger_can says:

    And whats worse, Rose blogs that he’s “changed” his mind after his site gets clusterf*cked to hell and says.. Yea, we are not going to delete anymore of them now.. Sorry.

    It shows he’s spineless.

  23. fuckdiggggggggg says:

    Uh, Yeah …Digg will burn in hell for this. This is not China and I say we throw gasoline on the flames until digg is no more than a memory of corporate greed.

  24. TomK says:


    The courts said cease and desist

    Cease and desist my ass.

    They no longer have the power to make people cease and desist,

    Everyone who has commented so far has completely missed the implications of the story. The story isn’t at all about digg. Digg was gonna be dead in 5 years anyway. Irregardless

    The real story here is that a US court issued a cease and desest letter on behalf of a major corporate consortorium backed by billions of dollars, which said “You can’t say this number” and normal dudes were like “wanna bet? Watch us. This number is gonna be impossible to scrub from the internet in the morning.”

    That is the story that everyone is missing. The courts can’t tell us what to do en masse anymore. They can make a particular person cease and desist, but they can’t force everyone to.

    Neal Stephenson has written a bunch of really really good science fiction. One of his big futurist ideas is that a combination of internet technology, a big ass pile of gold and unbreakable encryption could destroy the government by creating a stable electronic currency, backed by gold, that government could not control, because it would be untraceable, and thus untaxable.

    (It would be more accurate to say he wrote fiction about such and idea and is not predicting it. He would certainly appreciate this rejoinder.)

    Anyhow, the real story here is that these sorts of things aren’t at all about any of this stuff about kevin rose or digg, or censorship or any of that crap.

    It’s about the courts being completely overruled by the people. The courts said no, and people said yes, and 50 years from now, this number is gonna be all over any sort of credible web archive. Courts lose.


  25. TomK says:

    I commented too soon.

    The point about neal stephenson’s writing was that we just took a huge step towards his vision coming real.

  26. cl0n3x says:

    I think either way Digg would have been done for. The only difference is that now, not only will they (most likely) get a copyright infringement case on their hands, but the users have pretty much lost all respect for the website.

    Even if it survives the (inevitable) lawsuit by AACS, it will also loose
    its sponsership, and most (if not all) of its’ users.

  27. SOhp101 says:

    @rugger_can: Spineless? I don’t really think so… I actually don’t think it was unreasonable for Kevin to change his mind; he was originally trying to avoid any possible lawsuit but then he realized (with the help of thousands of diggers) that it just isn’t going to happen.

    It’s silly for a company to think that they can sue people for saying a ‘password’ online. I’d like to see a company justify that, especially when they’re dumb enough to make it only one possible key.

  28. Uriel says:

    C’mon Ben, you can say shit on your own blog, don’t be such a 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 .

  29. rugger_can says:


    When you make a choice based on the advice of a lawyer (not even his own decision) then change your mind because your scared you will lose your base. When your original fear was losing your medium it says nothing but your afraid and incapable of making a solid decision.

    I paraphrased to spineless, but its pretty much the same thing.

    The quickest way to make people want to do something is to tell them they are not allowed.

  30. Smegzor says:

    Digg is one of my favourite sites. This site is another (I have a lot of favourites ^^). I don’t want to see either site go.

    Digg censorship doesn’t bother me and I will like Digg just the same regardless of how this ends.

    I would be more pissed if I lost this site over that stupid key. If all my regular haunts go down, I’ll be reduced to filling online crosswords for kicks :O

  31. @rugger_can: When you say “The quickest way to make people want to do something is to tell them they are not allowed,” you are right on the money.

  32. crayonshinobi says:

    TomK hit the nail on the head. The real story here is suppression of freedom, Digg just happened to be the unfortunate venue.

    As pointless and stupid as the Bluray and HDDVD formats are, at least they have contributed to society by putting yet another nail in the DMCA’s(and by extension the MPAA’s/RIAA’s) coffin.

    When will the MPAA/RIAA learn that they cannot win?

  33. Slosh says:

    mmm, meth bunnies

  34. 5h17h34d says:

    From what I have seen Digg is where all the AOL refugees flocked to.

  35. royal72 says:

    if you really want to make a difference, don’t use/view the site. when their hits drop, so does their revenue stream (advertising) and same thing goes for any other media outlet.

  36. methane says:

    Just went to the HD-DVD wikipedia page, surprisingly, there isn’t any mention of digg or the string there yet. and it hasn’t been locked down due to ‘vandalism’ yet either!

  37. methane says:

    @methane: Which is to say, Muslix64 IS mentioned, but what the code IS is not mentioned, and neither is the Digg Bruhaha.

  38. Shoeb Ahmed says:

    Digg is stupid.
    They deactivated my account the 2nd day after I signed up.

    I sent them 6 emails, and not one got answered as to why my account got closed.