Fake Steve Jobs Spurns Real AT&T Protest

By  |  Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

It started out as a joke for Dan Lyons, known to us all as “Fake Steve Jobs,” but it has now taken on a life of its own. Operation Chokehold was supposed to be a fake protest that would attempt to take down AT&T’s network by overloading it, according to a post on Lyon’s site. It was meant to look as if it was real, but Lyons apparently was saying it in jest.

His fans apparently want to make it real, however. A Facebook group has been created urging people to do what Lyons suggested — run a data intensive application on the 3G network for a full hour on Friday at Noon PST — and currently sports about 1,600-plus members. The media is having a field day with it (heck look at us, we’re even covering it), and AT&T is peeved.

Check out this statement from the company to Apple web log Cult of Mac if you think they’re just blowing this off:

“We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog.”

Maybe AT&T needs to take a bit of a pill — why give this publicity as I doubt this will amount to anything — but who knows with the way their 3G network runs. I guess if this does happen, we’ll find out if that report from Mr. Turner on AT&T’s network issues we blogged about in October was actually true, no?

Blogger and Technologizer contributor Dave Zatz really takes it to Lyons though (and I’m paraphrasing):

It’s a spiteful and selfish act …. spearheading a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against one of the largest US communications networks may also attract the sort of attention he’ll be less pleased with … (Dan Lyons) is a professional journalist. And this is a call to action in the real world, not the ‘fake’ one.”

Not sure that I would go to that extent. While it was stupid, I would not call it spiteful or selfish. Lyons just didn’t think this one through before releasing it to the masses. As much as we can make jokes out of AT&T’s shoddy 3G service, for some its actually enough that all they would need is a call to action to vent their frustrations through something like this. In any case, I HIGHLY DOUBT it would be able to get to the level where it would actually do any damage. It ain’t the 1960’s — we’re too lazy to protest these days.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. william Says:

    What percentage of iPhone customers read fakesteve? It has to be less than 1%. If that number of customers can make a noticeable difference to the AT&T network simply by making heavy use of their phones, there is something seriously wrong.

  2. DZ Says:

    william, his proposal has been picked up by numerous blog and news sources including the WSJ.

    Ed, if it had been a solitary post, I’d have written it off as satire. But the multiple posts trumpeting his coverage and appearing to egg people on, perhaps not entirely “in character,” led me to a different conclusion.

    As independent bloggers, we rarely have the luxury of editorial oversight or third-party input prior to publication. Which is how I think something(s) like this gets published. Kinda reminds me of Gizmodogate. I’m sure it seemed funny ahead of time. But not all of their audience (especially the adults) were amused. (Yes, I too have made my fair share of blogging missteps. And people calling me out on it helped me up my game.)

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