While I was out shopping, my phone started buzzing non-stop with a incredible amount of notifications. I’m just a quiet blogger, freelance writer working on my own thing, so my thoughts turned right away to something wrong at home or with one of my children. I was shocked to find out that I was getting dozens of Twitter notifications. I was in a busy store, so I moved out of the way to take a look at things. After a few moments, I figured out that my Twitter account had somehow been compromised. I’m an outspoken person when it comes to disability rights and my hatred of the infamous “disability mocking” video from the campaign trail last year has led to many an angry posts by me.
When I rushed home and was able to get a better view of things on my desktop, I had already stopped this person or people by luckily being able to send a password change request. They hadn’t changed my email so I had access. I quickly changed all my settings, email and password and tried to regain control. What I discovered, was that this person used my account to go after someone famous. I’d heard the person’s name before, but I truly wasn’t aware of their work/career etc. They started posting all sorts of insults (some were quite vulgar) and their fans came at me. If you’ve never been attacked online before, it will come as quite a shock to you. I’m not talking about the “you’re wrong and stupid/liberal/whining” etc type insults. I mean horrible nasty attacks.
The irony of the whole mess was that, during the time I didn’t have control of the account, they were posting, replying and blocking at a furious pace. I can tell you I might post eight things a week, maybe less or more but always around that much. It’s barely a hobby. So, because it seemed that I was the one saying all these nasty things, they came after me. I’ve often read here and there about celebrities being treated terribly online for everything from what they say to what they wear, but I was truly at a loss. I wrote this individual right away, letting them know that I’d regained control of my account after being hacked and explained that I didn’t even know who they were and was in the process of trying to figure everything out and most certainly erasing all of the postings. To the best of my knowledge, this individual did not read what I wrote and kept up the posts to me/about me etc as well as personal insults they created (including capturing photos on my account used in posts) directed back at me. Wanting to end the situation as well as distance myself, I just figured I did my best and hopefully it would die down. It did.
During the last year, with all the constant bickering online about the campaigns, I had to wind up unfriending and unfollowing several people online. It was a way for me to step back and remove myself from a lot of the ‘culture of hate’ out there. There were a lot of strong posts and opinions/conversations and it became quite tedious. However, I’d never experienced anything like I did yesterday. There are still a few nasty comments being made because the originals weren’t taken down (I did the courteous thing and took down everything I could find and blocked those who participated with the most vile responses) and I did make a few posts about what happened to any of my casual friends who may have seen posts thinking they came from me.
I will say that I took the time yesterday to lock down and change a lot of my accounts with better settings, passwords and security. I don’t think I will ever find out who hacked the account, unless they send me a message admitting to it lol. All I know is that the internet is not just the fun and informative place I often pretend it to be. At times, I’ve discovered that it is filled with very nasty people with no tolerance for mistakes, or insults. While I’m glad the posts are gone (at least on my end) I will go forward with a broader view of just what can happen when things go wrong online.