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Nude photo threat against Emma Watson was a gross hoax

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Who was the real target of the Emma Watson countdown clock?

A website threatening the release of some very private pics of Emma Watson is now purporting to be a hoax designed to bring awareness to the inexcusable behavior of 4chan, but more mysteries remain.

The website EmmaYouAreNext.com featured a clock supposedly counting down to the release of nude photos of the actress, reportedly in retaliation for an incredible speech on feminism she gave to the U.N. on Saturday, Sept. 20. A message later appeared at the bottom of the page saying, "We will launch earlier, tune in on September 24, 2014 at 12AM EST."

But at the appointed time, Watson's privacy was not grossly violated after all (thankfully). Instead, the countdown clock was replaced with a banner reading "#shutdown4chan" and an open letter to President Barack Obama urging the censorship of the internet.

"Dear Barack Obama," the letter on the website reads, "We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months [sic] have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature — and will be a step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org. Sincerely, Rantic.com."

The site continues, "Spread the word! Join us as we shut down 4chan and prevent more private pictures from being leaked. None of these women deserve this and together we can make a change. EmmaYouAreNext.com has reached over 48 million visitors, 7 million Facebook shares/likes & 3 million Twitter mentions worldwide."

The company claiming ownership of the prank, Rantic Marketing, sent a series of tweets trying to rally supporters to their cause.

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So what is really going on here? A mere prank? Social justice? A call for reform? Clever marketing for a new company? Emma Watson trolling us all? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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