WGN App Story Shows Porn Link on Demo Phone [UPDATED]

WGN App Story Shows Porn Link On Demo Phone
Reporting can be a dangerous business if you're covering a war zone, protests, or organized crime. And if you're doing a piece on high tech? Well, it can get downright embarrassing, as happened to WGN-TV in Chicago. A piece on an app to help Illinois students expunge old juvenile offenses from their records inadvertently showed that someone had a link to an online porn site either in their browser's history or saved as a bookmark, as Mediaite reported.

The story was supposed to be straightforward enough. As in other states, Illinois minors can find themselves arrested. The records can follow and disrupt chances for work and education. A youth group called Mikva Challenge decided to create an app to "educate young detainees and parents" and help them understand a process called expungement, under which juveniles can petition the courts to clear their records. The app is called Expunge.io.

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WGN did a segment on the student-created app, with a student giving a demonstration of how it worked. The phone belonged to someone in the room where the demo was held, but not to any of the people interviewed or to anyone from WGN, said station news director Greg Caputo to AOL Jobs. Even so, the result turned into an embarrassing situation. As the student demonstrator typed on the screen to bring up the app, Google Search brought up the names of previously visited websites and bookmarked pages. Among them was one for Pornhub.

Pornhub is an ad-supported pornographic video sharing site that claims to have hundreds of thousands of videos available along with a site for mobile devices. How embarrassing.

That anyone noticed the reference was impressive. "It's exactly 1.1 second of a three minute, 15 second piece."It's exactly 1.1 second of a three minute, 15 second piece," Caputo said. "It's pretty small type. It's surprising to me that it was picked up at all. Certainly when we edited it and shot it, nobody saw that."

But the Internet is full of sharp-eyed individuals and someone noticed and was all too happy to spread the word. The link went to the top of Reddit, according to the Independent in London, under the title, "Chicago news needs a fresh start on their browser history" with an accompanying screenshot posted on Imgur. The comments were merciless. One of the tamer ones was, "Only a real man looks at porn without incognito mode".

After the realization broke, WGN took the story down off its own site and off YouTube. Apparently it found its own expungement app.

"I just feel badly that a really interesting story on its own merits about a bunch of young kids who got together to do something is so overshadowed by this little piece of business," Caputo said. "I think everybody does tend to look very carefully at what your edited product looks like and listen to make sure there are no words you don't want to have on television. ... It's just a reminder of how careful you need to be."

Filed under: Office Humor, Weird News
Tags: chicago, porn, wgn
Erik Sherman

Erik Sherman

Contributor

Erik Sherman has written for the Wall Street Journal, Inc, Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He's a regular contributor to CBS MoneyWatch and Inc.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman.

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Anitadenny

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May 22 2014 at 2:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

porn porn porn all i watch is porn porn in the morning porn at noon porn at night porn porn porn i even dream of porn i wanna be in porn i wanna die in porn

February 13 2014 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
liz1721

If people weren't watching it, it wouldn't be one of the biggest industries. Get over it.

February 13 2014 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Writer...

AND WHO CARES ANYWAY!!! IT'S THEIR PERSONAL BIZ!!! 99% OF OUR COUNTRY WATCHES PORN.....LOOK WHAT OUR FRIGGIN PRESIDENT DID!!! A PORN APP LEFT ON A CELL PHONE IS NOTHING COMPARED TO GIVING A HUMMER TO THE PRESIENT!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA.......WHAT'S NEXT???

February 13 2014 at 9:37 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Writer...'s comment
jelun

LOL, I have an idea you tell yourself that so that you feel "normal" most porn is dehumanizing for one partner or three.
Most people can create their own porn.

February 14 2014 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
onemorehappyperson

My next browsing site after reading this article is pornhub ;)

February 13 2014 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
myrealtortim

Don't try to read the article on the Time Warner / Comcast merger. The screen freezes for some reason. I guess AOL/Time Warner/Huffpo didn't like the content or something. AOL/Time Warner already suck so how much worse could it be?

February 13 2014 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
xblndeeoo4x

A lot of those porn sites pop up just like websites. When you download different aps to your phone if it isn\'t a reliable ap it attaches tons of garbage spam sites porn & who knows what else. It isn\'t unusual. Also you can clear the history all you want ...there are always still traces of everything you do on your phone. Same with your computer & tablet you can buy scrubber programs and everything else trying to clear traces of what you do. If someone is even somewhat knowledgeable or tech savvy you can find anything Besides the fact I agree with most of you that have posted... who cares . This isn\'t breaking news.

February 13 2014 at 6:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sjrsloan

wow,who hasnt look at porn before on thier phone

February 13 2014 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sjrsloan's comment
rohrscheibcroh

ah me I use it to talk

February 13 2014 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aviation Finance

Well, "Pornhub" just received a HUGE amound of FREE Advertising !!!!!!!

Or Maybe they PAID for this "story".......

February 13 2014 at 5:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
T Rock

Thats why so many people are addicted to their smart phones, and while driving too!

February 13 2014 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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