What is The Fappening? That was the awkward question I was asked today by several friends who read my previous article about a viral Reddit broadcast dedicated to the event.

The Fappening in it’s most basic of terms is a combination of two words: Happening and Fapping. The latter refers to the practice of masturbating, and is most often used by female internet users in place of the words masturbation or masturbating. Happening simply refers to an event that is currently underway. Combine the two and you have The Fappening. 

What Is The Fappening: The Specifics

More specifically The Fappening refers to a massive internet upload that is purported to include upwards of 2GB worth of naked female celebrity photos. Believed to be among those celebrities are Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lawrence. Ariana Grande, and dozens of other popular TV and movie stars.

Currently the following females are believed to have naked photos released en masse in The Fappening: Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco,  Kate Upton,  Victoria Justice, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Brie Larson, Kristen Dunst, Becca Tobin, Jessica Brown Findlay, Hope Solo, Teresa Palmer, Kristen Ritter, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, McKayla Maroney, and Aubrey Plaza.

The Fappening began on August 31, 2014 and has continued for nearly 24 hours. If the creator of The Fappening is to be believed, there are still many more uploads that will occur in the coming hours and days ahead.

What Is The Fappening: How It All Began

An unknown hacker reportedly gained access to the private photo repositories for dozens of female celebrities. Early reports suggest that the hacker may have used unauthorized iCloud account access to steal photos, and possibly several videos. Several celebrities claim that they use Google Android devices, which means iCloud could be one of numerous services that were breached for the illegal event.

There was no warning that The Fappening was about to begin. The hacker did not request money for the photos or videos, instead choosing to anonymously upload photos in small batches. The first well known actress to receive exposure from the event was Jennifer Lawrence. Immediately following the release of her private nude photos, Lawrence threatened to sue any sites that took part in the event.

Eventually celebrity blogger Perez Hilton released several of the nude photos on his website, before removing the photos, and ultimately issuing an internet apology via Twitter.

What Is Fappening Now?

The Fappening has led to an active investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and various other law enforcement agencies. The event started when photos were uploaded to popular photo repository sites, including 4Chan’s anonymous image service, Imgur, and ultimately Reddit. The term, in less than 24 hours, spurred the popular subreddit /R/TheFappening and eventually led to the creation of a live Reddit broadcast of events at http://www.reddit.com/live/thwsx6wkbysn. That live event as I previously reported, has spurred more than 100,000 real-time viewers.

The Fappening has also led to the outright denial of pictures by some of the female celebrities alleged to be displayed in the photographs. As denials pour in, some internet users are looking to debunk the celebrities own debunking of the released photographs.

In some cases internet users with too much time on their hand, have resorted to creating GIFs in the form of naught moving images. Those GIFs have oddly enough become highly coveted among Reddit and 4Chan users.

In the meantime, the hacker who released the photos has claimed that they may soon issue all 2GB worth of photos and videos in a single action. Currently they have released only a few photos at a time.

Female Celebrities Respond To Their Pics Being Released

In a public statement Jennifer Lawrence wrote:

“This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”

So what is The Fappening? It’s basically a waste of time, and a violation of privacy that will likely lead to a future arrest, and a long prison sentence for some unlucky hacker.