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Anonymous didn’t hack the Westboro Baptist Church on Facebook

They did something even more effective.


Lorraine Murphy

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 17, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 6:12 pm CDT

After the Boston Marathon bombings, homophobic death-trolling group the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) announced that theywould picket the funerals of the victims. God, they said, sent the bombs because he is angry about marriage equality. Justice trolling group Anonymous quickly announced that they would strike back at the church, with whom they’ve tangled before. Within hours, they did.

Or did they?

The announcement of Anonymous engagement came from YourAnonNews, the largest Anon news account on Twitter, with close to a million followers. It was instantly popular with both dedicated Anons and WBC-haters from all walks of life, who retweeted it 3,239 times, helping YAN to its best day ever on Twitter with over 107,000 retweets, and setting it up to pass the million follower mark today.

What exactly did Anonymous propose to do? To form, as at Newtown, a human wall between WBC protesters and mourners at the victims’ funerals. To attack the WBC website and take it offline. To hijack and deface the WBC Facebook page.

We can’t speak to the human wall yet, although past performance indicates that Anons will show up, although they will be significantly outnumbered by non-Anons who also support the families of the victims. As for the hacks, well, we do have some information on those…

The base URL for the WBC site is indeed offline more than on, but being truly old-fashioned in terms of web design as well as cultural outlook, the WBC defined the home page for their site as instead, and it is working just fine. All the sub-pages have worked just fine since the attack began.

Screenshot via Matt Davis/Twitter

As for the Facebook hack, which is getting massive retweet love and media attention today, it’s nothing more than a beautiful fake. What appears to be an official page is apparently “now” moderated by a group of comic characters including Captain Crunch, who is not only a beloved cereal mascot but also an infamous hacker.

In fact, the page was registered in December of last year, and has never belonged to the WBC at all. From its inception it was a false flag, a page maintained by Anonymous to mock the WBC, filled with humorous images and anti-church rhetoric. If you scroll back, you can see all the posts on the page are anti-WBC and always have been. Mother Jones was the first media outlet to notice the page’s anti-WBC history.

In case you’re wondering how effective the page has been, it’s gained over 7,000 new members in the past 24 hours.

In propaganda wars, sometimes a fake page filled with anti-WBC jokes and memes is better than a real, hacked WBC page.

Image via Kikki Planet/Twitter

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*First Published: Apr 17, 2013, 7:18 pm CDT