This guy ruined the Internet with his eyeball-burning headlines. What happened next will not make you like him any better.

This is Scott DeLong. DeLong made ViralNova, one of the various Upworthy knock-offs cluttering your Facebook feed with IQ-lowering “stories” on Legos and monkeys and men wearing pink sweaters. It’s become (in)famous for a particularly desperate, pandering style of headline, exemplified by gems like, “Here are 25 ways you’ll almost definitely live longer. You’ll literally add years to your life, so look.” (Please! We want you to! You won’t regret it!)

But DeLong — much like Victor Frankenstein! — apparently regrets his monster.

… DeLong also apparently regrets his regret, because the tweet — time-stamped today — is no longer online. But the whole thing was wisely screen-shotted by the Guardian’s Alex Hern, who in a follow-up tweet characterized ViralNova as “terrible.”

What were those “out of control” headlines DeLong referred to? We can only assume it’s stuff like this much-criticized tweet from CNN, which promoted a very tragic story with the glib “14-year-old girl stabbed her little sister 40 times, police say. The reason why will shock you.” Backlash suggests lots of people feel ready to “move on” from that kind of thing.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey | February 26