FYAD (short for Fuck You And Die), a longstanding messageboard on SomethingAwful, was shut down Tuesday by the site's owner, Richard Kyanka. According to Kyanka, the reason was a moderator security breach.
"It's another fun case of the Secret Service contacting me in the middle of the night because of what a couple nutjobs did in one of the forums," he told BuzzFeed over email. "After what I had to remove for them last night and all the time it took to make sure it was all gone, I just didn't want to deal with it anymore and closed it. A couple people in there don't know when to quit (or when not to fucking start)."
According to Kyanka, two FYAD moderator passwords were leaked as a result of this month's recent Heartbleed security flaw. As it happened, one or more of the moderators allegedly worked for the Secret Service and used their government email addresses as a login to the forum. The attackers, who are believed to be lurkers on the site, accessed the mods' accounts and email addresses, which led to the Secret Service intervention.
In an email to BuzzFeed, Kyanka claims the Secret Service faxed him a letter to remove the secret service officers' accounts in order protect the the identities and passwords of the employees. Kyanka told BuzzFeed he would provide a copy of the Secret Service letter but has not yet done so. A rep for the Secret Service was unaware of the incident and unable to confirm or deny if a security breach related to Something Awful had occurred.
While it's possible this entire event may be FYAD's final troll, several long-time FYAD contributors said rumors that a moderator was a member of the Secret Service had been floating around the subforum for years. This also wouldn't be the first time a government official was outed as a Something Awful forum moderator. U.S. State Department official Sean Smith, who was killed during an attack on the U.S. consolate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 was a prominent member of Something Awful's Goonfleet.
If you're not a frequent message board poster (and god help you, I hope you aren't) FYAD might not sound too familiar, but the tiny trolly forum was extremely influential around the internet. Many of 4chan's infamous /b/ board members started as FYAD posters and migrated over from the subforum, and many of the memes and jokes associated with 4chan or mid '00s internet were originally from Something Awful. The forum was also where "Weird Twitter" started. Popular accounts like @fart, @dril, or @dogboner were FYAD users who brought the board's in-jokes and ironic tone to Twitter.
Jon Hendren ("@fart"), a writer for SA's front page and former FYAD moderator, says the forum had declined in quality over the past few years, and many of the longtime users had migrated to Twitter. "It's kinda like when high school ends and everyone still hangs out together," Hendren explained. "We just can't hang out at the school anymore because the fuckin' cops are shitty idiots."
An announcement was made in a separate, rival forum called GBS ("General Bullshit"). A former FYAD poster who goes by the handle "Anne Frank fanfic," wrote: "fyad will not shut down if every noob posts a thread - if theres enough good ones the forum WILL remain open."
This is almost certainly...irony.
There was a thing that was on the internet. Not many people used it, but it was extremely influential. Now that thing is gone. I'm not sure if we should be sad or not. Whatever.
Updated — April 30, 3:35 p.m. ET: After this article was published, Kyanka tweeted that he had made up the story about the Secret Service. He says the FYAD message board is only temporarily closed and will reopen shortly. Lmao.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at email@example.com.
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