The house that fox built: Anonymous, spectacle, and cycles of amplification

Whitney Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This article focuses on 4chan's /b/ board, a - if not the - pillar of online trolling activity. In addition to chronicling the history of the site, as well as the emergence of the nebulous collective known as Anonymous, the article considers the ways in which early media representations of and subsequent reactions to trolling behaviors on /b/ helped create and sustain an increasingly influential subculture. Echoing Stanley Cohen's (1972) analysis of moral panics, the article goes on to postulate that trolls and mainstream media outlets, specifically Fox News, are locked in a cybernetic feedback loop predicted upon spectacle; each camp amplifies and builds upon the other's reactions, thus entering into an unintended but highly synergistic congress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-509
Number of pages16
JournalTelevision and New Media
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet
  • United States
  • cable television
  • media effects
  • new media
  • popular culture
  • virtual communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


Dive into the research topics of 'The house that fox built: Anonymous, spectacle, and cycles of amplification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this