THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

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bilateralrope
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THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-02-28 11:03pm

8chan. The website for people who find 4chans rules too restrictive.

THQ Nordic held a Q&A with 8chan, a website de-listed from Google for hosting suspected child porn
Graham Smith
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26th February 2019 / 11:11PM


“We’re doing an 8chan AMA and we have no idea why,” announced THQ Nordic on their Twitter account earlier this evening. If you’re not aware, 8chan is an imageboard website which has been de-listed from Google search results for hosting “suspected child abuse content,” and which is associated with Swatting and Gamergate.

THQ Nordic’s marketing director has since apologised and claimed ignorance, but both are hard to believe.

Thirty minutes after the original tweet, a brief followup attempted to offer more context for the decision: “the opportunity was here and we took it, we got apporached [sic] in a very friendly and polite manner and were assured, said person (shoutout to Mark) will take care of the nasty stuff. so, here we are.”

Two hours later and following a flood of negative reactions on Twitter, THQ Nordic posted a multi-tweet follow-up: “I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site. I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form. I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision, and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future. This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place. Philipp Brock, PR & Marketing Director THQ Nordic GmbH (Vienna, Austria)”.

8chan isn’t new or obscure. In 2015, the Washington Post referred to it as “the more-lawless, more-libertarian, more ‘free’ follow-up to 4chan.” QAnon, the infamous conspiracy group, grew in part from 8chan. Even a single Google search would have returned news stories giving a sense of what 8chan is – and, as mentioned above, would not have returned any links to 8chan. Also, it’s not as if every other company and brand is whoops-a-daisy accidentally doing interviews with hate sites, is it?

Even if the people involved at THQ Nordic had not heard of 8chan previously, the QA itself was not great. As pointed out by Waypoint’s Patrick Klepek, one anonymous user posted, “Please don’t censor any games nor appeal to the SocJus crowd, you guys are doing fine as is”. Brock responded, “thanks! we’ll try to stay that way.” When a user posted “Where the big tiddie lolis at?” alongside manga art depicting a man groping two young-looking girls, Brock responded, “you got them already we’d say.” If Brock or business and product development director Reinhard Pollice, who also took part, was surprised by these kinds of questions, or if there was a moment when the penny dropped, it’s not apparent from their posts.

THQ Nordic have been in the news a lot over the past six months, each time for buying studios or intellectual property. In the last six months they’ve bought TimeSplitters from Crytek, the Kingdoms Of Amalur IP, Alone In The Dark and Act Of War, Carmageddon, Outcast, plus Bugbear Entertainment and Coffee Stain Studios, the makers of Wreckfest and Goat Simulator (and the upcoming Satisfactory) respectively. Prior to all of this, they bought the THQ name when that publisher went bankrupt. This is a lot of developers to now be associated with 8chan and child pornography.

Ignorance is not a defence, even if it’s true, and a hasty apology in the face of widespread condemnation does not make this OK. What are we even doing here.

I’ve reached out to THQ Nordic for comment.
It's been a few days and, as far as I can tell, the 2 PR people involved are still working for THQ Nordic. So I'm thinking that there are other powerful people within the company protecting their jobs. When associating the brand your working for with child porn should be a career ending move.

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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by Eulogy » 2019-03-01 01:44am

What kind of fucking morons don't bother doing basic observation on whatever social platform they're thinking of using? A couple of hours browsing the site would tell these fools what they are dealing with, and then they wouldn't be saddled with this circus - it's not like your average imageboard is particularly secretive.

Heads should have rolled for this, but since the two morons still have their jobs I'm gonna make an educated guess and say that they aren't the only morons in the company.
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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-03-01 01:52am

They didn't need to visit 8chan to know it's a bad idea. Just check the wikipedia page about it. Which is the first result when I google 8chan.

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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2019-03-01 04:23am

They knew exactly where they were going and what was there. This is just backpeddling because someone figured out this wasn't edgy flirting with Gamer Gaters for free advertising and instead was a PR disaster.
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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by Civil War Man » 2019-03-01 09:39am

Imperial Overlord wrote:
2019-03-01 04:23am
They knew exactly where they were going and what was there. This is just backpeddling because someone figured out this wasn't edgy flirting with Gamer Gaters for free advertising and instead was a PR disaster.
I concur. This was the idea of someone who subscribes to the "no publicity is bad publicity" mantra and they're now pretending that this was all just an unfortunate misunderstanding upon finding out that no, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

From what I hear, the people angriest about this are the developers under the THQ Nordic umbrella, because they had no input in this decision, but they know they are going to lose sales as a result because it taints them all by association.

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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-03-04 10:43pm

THQ Nordic's parent company apologises for disastrous 8chan AMA
If you believe (incorrectly) that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, you may be impressed that people are still talking about publisher THQ Nordic GmbH. Their ‘Ask Me Anything’ Q&A session on 8chan – an infamous image-board permanently delisted from Google for hosting suspected child porn – got people chattering. Unfortunately it’s the kind of chatter that has brought parent company THQ Nordic AB out of the woodwork to publicly apologise for the incident to “group employees, partners and consumers”, although it’s a predictably rote and half-hearted statement.

In THQ Nordic AB’s official statement, co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors takes “full responsibility for all of THQ Nordic GmbH’s actions and communications”. There’s talk of an internal investigation that “every member of the organisation has learned from”, but no word of what – if anything – will be happening to Philipp Brock, marketing director and man responsible. Despite his claims that he (and nobody else at the publisher) had any idea about 8chan’s bad reputation, the event was announced along with talk of having someone on 8chan to “take care of the nasty stuff”. They did not, but at least it made “Shoutouts to Mark” a minor Twitter meme.

“As a Swedish based, fast growing group, we firmly support equality and diversity,” Wingefors said. “We are also working actively to combat discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. We are already in the process of developing new work processes, based on the United Nations’ SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and using the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards, and we will accelerate this work going forward.”

Wingefors at least tries to reiterate that they do not endorse any of the awfulness that 8chan is known for, admitting that hosting a PR event there “gave an implicit impression that we did”. The company claims that they’re changing things to avoid similar mistakes in the future, although all of this awfulness could have been solved with literally thirty seconds on Google once the public warnings started pouring in. That is, if we believe Brock’s claims that nobody at all knew of 8chan’s reputation and history, which I cannot see any reason to.

The apology feels more geared towards trying to assuage the fears of shareholders, studios and other associated entities. I know I feel bad for reformed Darksiders studio Gunfire Games, who launched a piece of arena mode DLC for Darksiders 3 on the same day as the Q&A. The release was understandably buried, and even a casual search for the game that day resulted in the PR firestorm the publisher had caused. But hey, no such thing as bad publicity, right?
So they "apologise" but the two people responsible remain employed.

I don't know what Swedish employment law is like. If THQ Nordic decided to fire these two idiots as fast as they legally could, how quickly could they be fired ?

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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-03-04 11:13pm

bilateralrope wrote:
2019-03-04 10:43pm
THQ Nordic's parent company apologises for disastrous 8chan AMA
If you believe (incorrectly) that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, you may be impressed that people are still talking about publisher THQ Nordic GmbH. Their ‘Ask Me Anything’ Q&A session on 8chan – an infamous image-board permanently delisted from Google for hosting suspected child porn – got people chattering. Unfortunately it’s the kind of chatter that has brought parent company THQ Nordic AB out of the woodwork to publicly apologise for the incident to “group employees, partners and consumers”, although it’s a predictably rote and half-hearted statement.

In THQ Nordic AB’s official statement, co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors takes “full responsibility for all of THQ Nordic GmbH’s actions and communications”. There’s talk of an internal investigation that “every member of the organisation has learned from”, but no word of what – if anything – will be happening to Philipp Brock, marketing director and man responsible. Despite his claims that he (and nobody else at the publisher) had any idea about 8chan’s bad reputation, the event was announced along with talk of having someone on 8chan to “take care of the nasty stuff”. They did not, but at least it made “Shoutouts to Mark” a minor Twitter meme.

“As a Swedish based, fast growing group, we firmly support equality and diversity,” Wingefors said. “We are also working actively to combat discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. We are already in the process of developing new work processes, based on the United Nations’ SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and using the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards, and we will accelerate this work going forward.”

Wingefors at least tries to reiterate that they do not endorse any of the awfulness that 8chan is known for, admitting that hosting a PR event there “gave an implicit impression that we did”. The company claims that they’re changing things to avoid similar mistakes in the future, although all of this awfulness could have been solved with literally thirty seconds on Google once the public warnings started pouring in. That is, if we believe Brock’s claims that nobody at all knew of 8chan’s reputation and history, which I cannot see any reason to.

The apology feels more geared towards trying to assuage the fears of shareholders, studios and other associated entities. I know I feel bad for reformed Darksiders studio Gunfire Games, who launched a piece of arena mode DLC for Darksiders 3 on the same day as the Q&A. The release was understandably buried, and even a casual search for the game that day resulted in the PR firestorm the publisher had caused. But hey, no such thing as bad publicity, right?
So they "apologise" but the two people responsible remain employed.

I don't know what Swedish employment law is like. If THQ Nordic decided to fire these two idiots as fast as they legally could, how quickly could they be fired ?
I'm not sure how it's in Sweden but here in Finland it would be quite expensive and slow to fire someone just for a PR disaster, now if you could argue in court that those people were promoting criminal activity it might get easier but it would also need some rather strong evidence for but you can't fire someone just for being a monumental idiot.
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Re: THQ Nordic does AMA on 8chan

Post by Titan Uranus » 2019-04-05 02:52pm

So, looking at the actual AMA (and no, 8chan is not delisted from google RPS editor, you inbred halfwit), it's surprisingly non-cancerous. Certainly most of the questions were of a better quality than I would expect from Reddit, for instance. The very beginning and the end of the thread were pretty channish, though.

It's actually a pretty good idea for THQ Nordic to do this, the 8chan-sphere gives them a ton of credit for merely acknowledging their existence. THQ backpedaling already fits their preconceived narratives so THQ doesn't lose any of their goodwill by doing so. Meanwhile, mistakes/"mistakes" followed by apologies usually raise profits on net, and this isn't likely to be any different.

Though I'm pretty sure that the THQ guys lied their asses off, like most AMAs. I don't believe they're putting significant effort into making old games open source, presumably out of the kindness of their hearts.

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