It was one of the most scandalous privacy affairs in recent times: The celebrity photo leak published in August 2014 showed private nude pics of several Hollywood celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and Kaley Cuoco. All pics were uploaded to Apple’s iCloud and hackers used targeted attacks on user passwords to get access to the photos.
The public distribution of these pictures (the event was also known as “The fappening”) caused an explosive reaction in social media, the pictures spread quickly from 4chan (were the pics were initially sold by hackers) to “the bay” (thepiratebay.se) and millions of news headlines, tweets, videos and comments followed.
Google Trends shows an explosive rise of interest especially for Jennifer Lawrence. The Academy Award winning actress was the most popular victim of the hack and suddenly in August 2014, the number of search results for Jennifer Lawrence increased by the factor of 10 compared to January of this year (unfortunately, Google Trends doesn’t publish absolute numbers of search results).
Also topsy determined an increasing interest in Jennifer Lawrence on August, 31st. On this day, Jennifer Lawrence was #1 topic in more than 600,000 tweets.
Unsurprisingly, most users brought Jennifer Lawrence in context with the hashtag “thefappening” as stated by socialmention.com
Viewed in this light, “The fappening” was a big popularity boost for the victims at the cost of their privacy.