The digital frontier has always been home to shenanigans. One of the most widely played pranks on the Internet has been Rickrolling. This is the act of sharing a picture or link that, when clicked on, misdirects the user to Rick Astley‘s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The video has racked over 50 million views from unsuspecting victims.
Rickrolling is said to have started as “duckrolling” on the 4chan imageboard (picture early version of Fark or Reddit). In search of real information, users would click a link only to be redirected to a photo of a duck on wheels. The first known instance of a Rickroll was in May 2007 on 4chan’s video game board, where a link to the Grand Theft Auto IV trailer mislead gaming fans to the Rick Astley video.
Someone posted a link to “Never Gonna Give You Up” in a music forum but it was actually a Nickelback song! The NickRoll has been spawned.
— Mike Lombardo (@mikelombardo) December 1, 2011
After millions of views, and nearly everyone on the Internet being Rickrolled at least once, pranksters have flipped the attention to Canadian rockers, Nickelback.
In recent years Nickelback has garnered hate from music fans across the Internet. The band was singled out as one of the most harmful forces in rock when a petition to have them removed from Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day football halftime show garnered more than 50,000 signatures. That was in the wake of a music critic for the Winnipeg Free Press petitioning NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to stop Nickelback from playing the Winnipeg Jets’ home opener last November.
So, word to the wise, be weary of photos that claim to be links to useful material. You could be the next victim of a Nickroll.
-Jay Tilles, CBS Local