Report: Facebook Slow to Address Hacking of Grief Support Group

Zuckerberg: private, small-scale messaging is Facebook's future
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP

The New York Times recently published an article outlining how a hacker infiltrated a popular grief support Facebook group, and the fact the company was slow to offer any help.

In an article titled “Grieving People Gathered on a Facebook Support Group. Then a Hacker Showed Up,” the New York Times outlines how a hacker managed to infiltrate a popular grief support group on Facebook, terrorizing members for weeks with no Facebook representatives taking action. The page, tilted Grief the Unspoken, has more than 500,000 followers and was first breached by hackers on May 9, when the hacker posted a photo of a disfigured child along with a number of other gruesome photos. Moderators initially managed to remove the photos but a short while later were unable to access the page altogether.

The Times writes:

The moderators reported the breach Wednesday to the F.B.I. Internet Crime Complaint Center, saying they considered it a cyberattack on a vulnerable population. They had even tagged Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and the chief executive of Facebook, on the social media platform.

“Triggering videos can be the last thread for someone who is emotionally fragile,” said Ms. Cheldelin Fell, who lives north of Seattle and is the founder of the International Grief Institute. “This hijacker is toying with the emotions of a vulnerable group of people. Facebook has to take action.”

A personal account of one of the page’s original administrators appeared to have been compromised, according to Facebook, which restored access on Thursday after being alerted to the problem by The New York Times.

So far it appears that the hacker behind the attack has not been found, but the damage has been done with the Facebook page losing 30,000 followers since the hack:

Efforts to reach the hacker, who had used different Facebook profile names to communicate with one of the page moderators, were unsuccessful.

Ms. Cheldelin Fell said the grief support page lost 30,000 followers since the first attack in May. After the attack, Grief the Unspoken directed followers to a new page it set up June 12.

“We went through all the right channels,” she said. “We tried different venues.”

Read the full report on the New York Times here. 

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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