Proponents of gay marriage amendment targeted by hackers
On Tuesday night a Bible verse from the Book of Leviticus was posted on the Facebook page of Minnesota for Marriage, the main group promoting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable,” the passage read. “They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
This seeming call for capital punishment for gay men, not surprisingly, drew condemnations from opponents of the marriage amendment. But Minnesota for Marriage’s deputy campaign manager, Andy Parrish, says the quote was posted without the group’s approval after his Facebook account and other online accounts were hacked.
“We are currently working with Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Apple to see who hacked Andy’s account and who posted this message,” reads the message posted on Minnesota for Marriage’s Facebook page on Wednesday morning. “Clearly we would never advocate for anyone to be put to death. We strongly believe that people are entitled to love whomever they choose, but they are not entitled to redefine marriage for all of society.”
GOP Senate candidate Kurt Bills‘ Facebook pages was similarly hacked in the last 24 hours. “I would like to formally announce my opposition to the Marriage Amendment,” read a message posted on the Facebook page. “As a conservative that believes in small government and liberty, I know the government has no business limiting the freedom of some to marry.”
But according to Mike Osskopp, Bills’ campaign manager, the post was put up without the campaign’s approval after its site was hacked. “We’ve pulled the post down and re-secured it,” Osskopp tells PIM.
The Leviticus passage remained on the Minnesota for Marriage Facebook page for several hours. But in a Twitter post, Parrish explained that it was only up there so that Facebook could conduct an investigation of what happened. “Facebook needs it up until they verified the IP address,” Parrish wrote. “As soon as they can Facebook will remove it.”
Not everyone is buying that explanation. “This whole thing about @AndyParrishMN @mnformarriage being ‘hacked’ is 100% bullshit” wrote Aaron Landry, formerly a liberal blogger in Minnesota, who now resides in Hawaii, on Twitter. “No question.”
In a follow-up email to PIM, Landry explained his reasoning. “With my work, I manage a large number of Facebook presences and have dealt with abuse issues,” writes Landry, who now works as director of market engagement for Olomana Loomis ISC in Honolulu. “The short answer is that Facebook, like any responsible online service, keeps logs. As well, removing and reporting an abusive issue happens in the same transaction. Facebook absolutely does not require a post to remain on the page in order to investigate an issue. Explained another way, if Facebook was really investigating if an account was hacked, they have logs of the IP addresses of where accounts are logged in from. They don’t need a post to stay on the page to keep an IP address.”
Parish takes umbrage at the suggestion that he hasn’t handled the mattered forthrightly. “I don’t care what they say,” he tells PIM. “They didn’t have their personal accounts hacked last night. They can say what they want.”
Parrish points out that the Facebook page for Catholic Marriage Matters MN was also hacked on Tuesday night. “Why did this happen to three pages at the same time?” Parrish asks. “They just don’t want people to see that our message that children need a mother and a father is resonating.”
On Wednesday afternoon Parrish posted a message from Facebook confirming that the password was changed by someone accessing his account from Los Angeles. “If you did not change your password, your account may have been the victim of a phishing scam,” the note read.
“I expect a ton of apologies from the people who called me a liar,” Parrish wrote on Twitter.