Clone Zone is a tool that lets users clone, edit, and share any web page on the internet. Users are able to rapidly edit any text and images on a web page, sharing the result via various social media channels. 4REAL, the digital media collective, conceived Clone Zone as a response to, and criticisms of, our overwhelming dependence on subjective social feeds for information. We felt it was important to draw attention to how easily the truth can be distorted and manipulated when disseminated through the current social media click bate climate. We also wanted to create a tool that would let users be the creators, giving individuals the power of accelerated information sharing. The clone zone was designed to facilitate imagination, criticism, and disruption as opposed to passive consumption of information.
The project was inspired by our vision to experiment with a platform as work of art, as well as internet artist pioneers who had created cloning tools in the past, like Eva and Franco Mattes as well as The Yes Men. We wanted to re-imagine their work in the context of modern-day social media feeds and make it extremely accessible to an average internet user. When creating the website the target group we focused on was our immediate circle of friends and collaborators - artists, writers and other creatives in New York City. Upon launching Clone Zone we were pleased to see that it appealed to a much wider global audience. Student pranksters, political and social activists, Kawasaki motorcyclists, hackers/internet hustlers from Black Hat World were all using the website in unique ways of expression. Clone Zone became a global phenomenon and has received traffic from almost every country in the world, with clones in multiple languages and locales. The project has been featured in the New York Times, Wired UK, Motherboard, Gawker, Huffington Post, Metro, Liberation, French TV, and many, many others. It has received over three million page views with over 50,000 clones created. Since the launch in early 2015, we quickly had to implement tools to take down clones and blacklist domains to avoid any legal and other repercussions. Clone Zone remains alive today and continues to be a free tool which earns us no revenue. We also had to limit the cloning to non-SSL-enabled sites and remove the ability for users to create links to prevent scam artists from using the site for fraudulent purposes. The Clone Zone is completely open to anyone who wants to create clones. The code has not been open-sourced at the present time, however we are currently considering the pros and cons of doing so.
Clone Zone was created by 4REAL, an artist collective working out of New York City. The founders of 4REAL, Slava Balasanov and Analisa Teachworth, along with designer Jon Lucas, were the core team creating the site. 4REAL is made up of a group of artists, designers, and developers who are interested in using the modern internet as a place to innovate works of art within online communities. http://www.4real.io