Hoaxes & Rumors

The “Operation #Freebleeding” Hoax

The “Operation #Freebleeding” Hoax

An elaborate internet hoax attempted to convince women that feminine hygiene products were a form of oppression.

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History

According to the Daily Dot, users from 4chan organized the hoax to “hit feminists right where it hurts most” by convincing women that “freebleeding” is their right.

According to a post from January 31, 2014, the steps of the hoax include:

  • Obtaining “nasty” pictures related to the topic
  • Engaging in discussion on social media using the hashtag #freebleeding
  • Continue uploading and promoting the images
  • Convince other users that the fake accounts are real
  • “Let the world do what they usually do.”

Fake social media accounts were created to spread the #freebleeding hoax, often posting graphic images relating to the topic.

Freebleeding

“Free bleeding” is a real concept – but not-widely practiced – which existed prior to the 4chan hoax, as discussed here in 2010. It is not practiced, however, to combat male oppression, which is a crux of the 4chan spin on the topic.

2015 Resurgence

In February 2015, the #freebleeding hashtag reappeared with renewed popularity on Twitter and other social media sites. The hashtag sparked renewed debate as to whether or not it is a real movement, and if it is an appropriate expression of feminism.

Bottom Line

Although “free bleeding” is a real concept, the viral movement on social media in February 2014 was merely a 4chan hoax, which prompted a larger debate on the topic that reappeared in 2015.

Updated February 17, 2015
Originally published February 2014

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