WSJ website defaced by PewDiePie fan in ongoing YouTube subscribers battle

Hacker posts apology on WSJ site and then urges users to follow the YouTube star.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor
Image: ZDNet

An overzealous fan has defaced a section of The Wall Street Journal website to post a message of support for Swedish YouTube personality Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg.

The defacement was live only for a few hours earlier today, before being taken down by the news publication's IT staff.

The message was not posted on the WSJ's news section, but on a section of its website where companies post sponsored content -in this case, the defacement was placed in Oracle's section.

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The rogue blog post-archived here- was posted as coming from the WSJ staff, and contained an apology to PewDiePie.

For context, PewDiePie and WSJ are at odds after the publication published a story in February 2017 in which it accused the YouTuber of anti-Semitic jokes. PewDiePie accused the WSJ of taking the comments out of context, but the damage was done, and the Swedish star lost an important Disney content deal following the questionable WSJ article.

But besides the apology, the larger part of the defacement text was dedicated to promoting and urging users to subscribe to PewDiePie's YouTube channel.

For the past two months, PewDiePie and his fanbase have been battling with T-Series, the channel of an Indian music label, for the title of most popular YouTube channel.

While the two channels engaged in some clever jabs via videos uploaded on YouTube, their competition slowly spilled out on the greater internet and the real world, rallying both channels' fanbases, but especially PewDiePie's.

In the "subscribers war" that followed users resorted to spamming forums, creating thousands of PewDiePie & T-Series memes, and even buying billboard space across cities.

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A special place in the guerilla marketing campaign that's been happening for the past two months is also reserved to a Twitter user named HackerGiraffe, who used hacking tools to make over 50,000, and later over 100,000 printers, spew out flyers and messages urging users to subscribe to PewDiePie's channel.

At the time of writing, PewDiePie's YouTube follower count stands at around 77 million, while T-Series has just barely gone over 75 million.

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