Sexual-Assault Support Group Was Hijacked for Erotica, Harassment: Report

A closed Facebook group for thousands of sexual-assault survivors was hijacked and converted to a source of erotica and vicious harassment, according to Thursday report from Wired. The group originally appeared to be a place for victims to share stories and offer support—but one day, a swarm of new members flooded the group, harassing survivors and threatening to call their abusers or child protective services. At the same time, Wired reports, the group was recategorized as a place for erotica. It remains unclear if the group’s administrator was hacked or if the group’s founders intended to bait-and-switch from the start—a tactic, Wired notes, that has been in online trolls’ playbooks for almost a decade. Advocates contend that Facebook is largely at fault for failing to protect its users. “This is a failure of Facebook really taking their own product to its logical extension,” said one researcher who specializes in online trolling. “Facebook doesn’t seem to understand that their tools are the bread and butter of manipulators.”