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September 3, 2014

The Fappening

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

It’s the most unprecedented leak of celebrity nudie pix ever, and the wags on the Internet have dubbed it The Fappening.

Fappening has its roots in happening, a hippie term. Allan Kaprow invented it in the 1950s, during the beat generation. I had the pleasure of taking a class from Kaprow when I attended university in the last century. Essentially, a happening is an artistic or creative event. It’s a good, useful term.

Fap was coined in this century. It means to masturbate. Specifically, it’s an activity that takes place when males view Internet porn, although the term applies to females as well. Fapping is the gerund.

Now that you’ve been educated in the etymology of the term, the Fappening was a massive release of celebrity nude photos, hacked from Apple’s iCloud storage.

How can such a thing happen!


On the technology side, like many mobile devices, the iPhone has a feature that automatically stores all your photos and videos on the cloud. The technology is not discerning, so if you take a picture of yourself standing nekkid in front of a mirror, that’s uploaded as well. Lots of people do such a thing, including celebrities.

Figure 1. The author doing the mirror selfie, fully clothed.

Figure 1. The author doing the mirror selfie, fully clothed.

On the devious side, hackers of the paparazzi persuasion know that such photos are automatically uploaded. With the same vigor they use to obtain telescopic pictures of topless targets, they probe Apple’s iCloud servers for celebrity accounts to hack. Their methods are moot, because their results were successful — although the found images weren’t sold to tabloids, they were presented free to throngs of ogling eyeballs on the Internet.

Accounts compromised included those belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, Kelly Cuoco, Kate Upton, and many other women not necessarily known for revealing skin as part of their successful careers. Say hello to the Fappening.

Obviously this situation could have been avoided by using a modicum of common sense.

First, understand that if you’re stupid enough to snap a bawdy selfie that such an image can go anywhere.

Second, know what your mobile device is capable of. Someone dumb enough to take a mirror shot of their own boobs is obviously not reading an app’s terms and conditions, nor are they bothering to question the app’s permissions.

Third, these women live under the constant scrutiny. I’m positive that their managers, agents, and attorneys told them not to take compromising photos of themselves by using their cell phones. Given that the Fappening happened, apparently these women are really ignorant.

That’s not the worst of it.

My guess is that this is only the first Fappening. I don’t think any lessons will be learned. Sure, lawyers will be enraged, threats made, apologies given, and teary-eyed confessions will rule the news cycle. But it will happen again.

Don’t blame technology. It’s human nature. People just don’t learn.

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