A gay couple’s travel blog was hacked and used to promote hate against LGBTQ people.
Over this holiday season, travel bloggers Karl Krause and Daan Coljin started to receive emails from their fans. These emails shared that their picture was being used to promote pedophilia.
“They were outraged emails,” Krause said. “They were saying: ‘How can that be? You are not pro-pedophilia. I know that.’”
NBC News reports that a Twitter user, under the name “Alex” and the handle @vaceyi, stole a picture of the couple kissing in front of a rainbow flag. That account then used the image in tweets promoting pedophilia.
“It’s frustrating to see someone misusing our image for political purposes — basically supporting an argument against the LGBTQ community with our work,” Krause told NBC.
The twitter account @vaceyi pushed the statement that “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation,” which sparked outrage from conservative news sources and twitter users. Many right-winged internet users took the bait as a serious argument.
That twitter account was then linked back to the infamous website 4chan. This happened because conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec reacted to the @vaceyi account with the following post.
“They are actually trying to argue that pedophiles are an ‘oppressed minority. Many warned this day would come.”
Later, a 4chan account user posted a comment asking, “Does [Posobiec] know he's being trolled by you guys and just going with it to look good? Or does he think the person tweeting this is serious?"
Eventually, Krause and his followers reported the @vaceyi account enough to have the account change its picture. Sadly, it then changed its profile picture to a stock photo of two black men kissing.
Now this past Thursday, Twitter has permanently suspended the @vaceyi account. This is due to Twitter’s rules against promotion of child sexual exploitation and impersonation.
"This type of deliberate attempt to undermine and disrupt the health of the public conversation has absolutely no place on our service," a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Coordinated activity of this nature — including running multiple accounts and adopting fake personae — is a violation of the Twitter Rules. We are aggressively taking action pursuant with our policies."
h/t: NBC News