How Kim Jong-un Won Time's 'Person of the Year' Poll
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has won Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year' poll thanks to Internet pranksters at 4chan.
CREDIT: Time Magazine
Kim Jong-un was probably too busy overseeing North Korea's recent rocket launch to notice that he had won Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" poll for 2012. But the North Korean leader has the pranksters at online discussion-board 4chan to thank for his victory.
The surprise isn't so much that Kim Jong-un — the dictator of a reclusive, nuclear-armed country known as the "hermit kingdom" to outsiders — ended up winning the supposed popularity contest. What really baffles even the pranksters is why Time Magazine continues to run the easily-manipulated polls without any new safeguards year after year, according to The Daily Dot. (Time editors pick their actual "Person of the Year" independently of the poll results.)
About 100 4chan members ran a Java script code written by a person known online as _js5 to bombard the Time poll with votes for Kim Jong-un. They also managed to manipulate the poll rankings so that the first letter of each candidate name spelled out "KJU GAS CHAMBERS" (a phrase meant to reference Hitler).
An email sent by _js5 to The Daily Dot and other media organizations reflected some bemusement over why Time Magazine still has not added basic security features to prevent poll manipulation.
"And I don't know why Time keeps running the damn poll where there's no captcha [a computer program that creates tests that humans can pass but computer programs cannot] and it makes it easy for this thing to happen," _js5 said. "Maybe it's just for the press, I don't know."
4chan previously made its collective mark on Time Magazine's separate Time 100 poll by auto-voting 4chan founder Christopher Poole to the top in 2009. Still, Time Magazine has clearly been in on the joke by acknowledging the influence of 4chan on the poll results in both 2009 and 2012.
Coincidentally, the hacktivist group known as Anonymous ended up winning the Time 100 poll for 2012.
Source: The Daily Dot