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Arise, awake, the people who run Facebook

April 12, 2009

From: Nisha Susan
Date: Sat, Apr 11, 2009
Subject: Pink Chaddi vandalised and taken over

Dear All,

Some of you know that the Pink Chaddi facebook group has been hacked over and over again over the last month. We have written to FB about the violent messages, the defacing and the threats. Despite all over security measures the hacks have continued. Facebook has essentially fobbed us off with some form mail. As of this evening my account has been disabled. The trolls have taken over. Rather specific *grin* and anatomically correct messages have been left for me on the group. I can’t get in to see what is happening but friends report that members are being deleted off the group.

FB continues to stay silent. As my friend says, the first rule of Facebook activism seems to be dont use Facebook.

Oh by the way the trolls have renamed the group ‘A good bong is a dead bong’. Over the month there choices have been Nathuram Godse Appreciation Society, Dara Singh Appreciation group and other as I said, anatomically specific ones.

Just wanted to let you know that this is what is happening. I am lobbying online and would appreciate it if you spread the word.

Thanks,
Nisha

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2009 1:18 PM

    If you think the “hacks” were due to vulnerabilities in Facebook, then they should be investigated (and perhaps you can describe what “all-over security measures” you took.) But if it happened because your password was something guessable (I hope not nisha123!) or because you were sharing it too freely with unvetted people, I don’t think it’s Facebook’s problem… Either way, I think some details are required before people start going all anti-Facebook on this.

  2. Nisha Susan permalink
    April 13, 2009 9:44 PM

    Dear Rahul,

    Can I say ouch at the condescension?

    We have been hacked regularly for a month. Sometimes every 8 hours or so.

    We have during this month done the following.
    1. Removed all group admins except mine, to ensure the attack couldn’t have come via them.
    2. Ran virus scans on my computer to look for spyware and keyloggers.
    3. Changed my password every 2-3 days. (and not the 123 kind) and every time an attack happened.
    4. Switched me to a Linux desktop, just in case something was missed.
    5. Disabled javascript in my browser, in case it was an XSS attack.
    6. Logged all HTTP requests from my browser to look for unusual activity, but found nothing.

    And two days ago I found (I am the creator of the Facebook group) that my account has been disabled by Facebook who decided that I was the source of abuse. The group was then taken over by hundred odd troll accounts who ran it into the ground. Today I think either deleted it (or declared it secret which works just as effectively.)

    Thank you,
    Nisha

  3. Nisha Susan permalink
    April 13, 2009 9:46 PM

    clarification: Today i think, THE TROLLS either deleted it (or declared it secret which works just as effectively.)

  4. Sharia Manifesto permalink
    April 14, 2009 11:59 AM

    Nishaji – I was under the impression that Ram Sena consisted of uneducated rowdies. I am surprised to know that they have a trianed bunch of hackers.

  5. Aarti Sethi permalink*
    April 14, 2009 1:28 PM

    The presumption that bigotry is a preserve of the “uneducated rowdies” is one of the many myths that sustains middle-class smugness. I am surprised at your surprise that there could be such things as right-wing hackers given that cyber-space has been, for a long time now, inundated with right-wing Hindu propaganda sites and blogs. Indeed it is the technocrats who are most often the most virulent supporters and espousers of radical Hindu sentiment. In JNU it is no surprise that the ABVP’s strongest support base is in the science schools.

  6. J P permalink
    April 14, 2009 4:20 PM

    Nisha,
    A friend, Jaideep Prabhu, decided to reinstate the group again. And we are sending out calls for people to join in again. I hope you support his response.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78995563572

  7. April 15, 2009 10:47 AM

    Nisha – I have spread the word in the facebook groups of “women bloggers” (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=13029341151) and “The Delhi Bloggers” (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8176649883). Also I think we could request ppl like Scobleizer, TechCrunch & Om Malik to highlight this issue on their websites. These are A-list bloggers in US of A and are bound to be read by Mark Z or ppl who matter.

  8. damien permalink
    April 15, 2009 11:56 AM

    Sorry to hear about your troubles.

    Just out of curiosity, what is a Pink Chaddi?

    Chaddi==Panties?

  9. Aarti Sethi permalink*
    April 15, 2009 12:13 PM

    A Pink Chaddi is exactly what you think it is. It is indeed a pink panty :) The Pink Chaddi campaign was begun on facebook by Nisha Susan as a response to the assault on women in a pub in mangalore, a city in the southern state of Karnataka by cadres of the Hindu right-wing outfit, Sri Ram Sene. The Sene also threatened to disrupt and attack any young people found celebrating valentine’s day, valentine’s day being “opposed to Indian culture” in which no one drinks, goes to pubs, loves anyone or has any sex, and a population of 1.1 billion people has been achieved through test tube copulation alone.The PInk Chaddi campaign was a call to send pink panties to the offices of the Sri Ram Sene. You can read all about the Pink Chaddi campaign here: http://thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com/

  10. April 15, 2009 5:59 PM

    i suggest you register the pinkchaddi.com url before one of these guys take it….
    ok just did a Whois search, its already been taken by some guy in delhi , heres the details

    Domain Name : pinkchaddi.com Registration Service Provided By: RESELLERBIZ.IN
    Contact: +91.9971602224
    Website: http://www.ResellerBiz.in

    => VISIT: http://www.ResellerBiz.in
    . . for individual customers & resellers . .
    Come, JOIN US, become a Domain Name Reseller
    . . or Register Domains at Reseller Rates . .

    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
    Domain Name: PINKCHADDI.COM

    Creation Date: 10-Feb-2009
    Expiration Date: 10-Feb-2010
    +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

    Registrant:
    AnyTimeMoney Inc.
    Vinayy Sharma ()
    26/131, West Patel Nagar
    New Delhi
    Delhi,110008
    IN
    Tel. +91.9971602224

    Domain servers in listed order:
    ns.ns1.co.in
    ns.ns2.co.in
    eight=”90″ border=”0″ />

    Administrative Contact:
    AnyTimeMoney Inc.
    Vinayy Sharma ()
    26/131, West Patel Nagar
    New Delhi
    Delhi,110008
    IN
    Tel. +91.9971602224

    perhaps you guys can contact him and use this rather than depending on FB…

    i am a web designer and to be fair FB’s programmers must find it hard to belive that your account is getting hacked, and other’s arnt…

    its much easier to assume, that someone has your admin id and keeps getting access to your password.

    that said i doubt its any fault of yours, and suggest you guys just move to your own dedicated site

  11. anu permalink
    April 16, 2009 2:30 AM

    The term I believe is cracker not hacker.

    The former is one who only breaks and does not posses the skills or will to build. The usual profile is a high school drop in the west, may not be too different here. Hackers, however, are highly skilled programmers who want to learn and understand. If they were really trying to figure something of the FB codes, they would not be doing it this way.

    – Don’t elevate juvenile Indians with plenty of free time to hacker status. And if the right wing has the real ‘hackers’, there is plenty of prime game that would really challenge their abilities.

    – I am not an user of FB, not sure how it is structured and maintained; but in large public databases, the sys admin in charge of making sure things don’t kill the entire system –will shut the more vulnerable sections. An email alert is usually sent to prepare the users. He/she is rarely concerned with the content.

    – FB probably does the same, they may not be aware how group A differs from group B, but if A attracts more crackers… then so and so action.

    I am reading this post after a recent discussion regarding the shutting down of an FB group built around breast-feeding mothers. Somebody objected to the pictures of nursing mothers there, and started the same routine described here. If one connects these two, we would say, FB is anti-women etc etc…. but seriously doubt it.

    Anyway the main reason for commenting is that activism that has an over dependence on the internet is problematic. For all its advantages and being the only democratic venue open for groups such as the dalits; it is a fairly uphill task to get activists to trust and use this medium more extensively. One of the reasons being we are few in numbers and tricks such as these can rapidly dissipate our energies (their goal). I agree with Chaitanya -a dedicated site is the way to go.

    Best.

  12. April 16, 2009 10:26 AM

    Get the system cleaned up by virus scan …. Password stealing virus is active at these times ..

  13. pooja bakshi permalink
    April 16, 2009 11:41 AM

    hello, at the cost of the fact that what i am about to say might sound too naive, i’d like to point out that perhaps the reason the facebook account has been hacked is precisely because this form of activism worked !! its important for us to remember that whilst at the same time not forget that internet activism like all other kinds of activism will have to be reworked and rethought of in terms of strategies used everytime someone starts a campaign. also clearly the use of facebook or anyothe networking site is/must be one among the many strategies used within the framework of organising a campaign.

  14. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    April 16, 2009 12:55 PM

    The way this discussion has turned towards the effectiveness or otherwise of internet activism is interesting and important. I do wonder though, if the attack on the pink chaddi group in Facebook is the relevant issue on which to start it, because whatever form a campaign takes, it can be attacked, both by the state and by anti-democratic social forces – demonstrations can be dispersed by the police or counter-attacked, activists in the field can be killed or tossed in jail, public meetings can be disrupted. As Pooja says above, attacks reveal that the campaign was effective.
    So while I agree with Anu that the action Facebook took must be seen as an administrative response rather than a political one, I do wonder what is her understanding of activism that has an “over-dependence” on the internet. Most political movements (including the pink chaddi campaign) use internet as only one of the modes of action – after all, the PC campaign involved people physically sending chaddis to the Ram Sene. Or sometimes, there are many strands in a broad campaign, and some strands use the internet while others do other things. In that sense, the PC campaign was one strand of a broader movement in Karnataka against the Hindu Right, which included public demonstrations, lobbying with the government and police, leafletting in neighbourhoods, and so on.
    Sustained political activism of any kind at some point or the other, involves dissipation of energies in actions that may not yield proportional returns – for instance, organizing demos takes a huge amount of energy, but may not result in large numbers turning out at each one. Or if they do, but the event is blacked out by the mainstream media, the frustration and sense of dissipation of one’s energies is equally intense, because silence about it in the media means it “never happened”, in a sense, as far as history is concerned, or the general public is concerned.
    My point is that the fear that internet activism is a uniquely vulnerable, ineffective or short-lived form of activism is unfounded. The internet is a medium, with all the potential and limitations of any other kind of medium. Ultimately the success of a political campaign results from specific complex configurations, and the various media that are used constitute one of the significant but by no means the only variable that contributes to this configuration.

  15. anu permalink
    April 16, 2009 3:49 PM

    I do wonder what is her understanding of activism that has an “over-dependence” on the internet.

    Nivedita, I should have specified, activities like archiving material –audio, video, scanned copies of print –where in the absence of libraries stocking the same, the digital resources that are developed on the internet using open formats like blogs etc., become vulnerable. Example: say a digital reconstruction of the dalit story (involves converting information from on the ground resistance/activism into it). While the internet lends itself very well to this aspect of activism, we would eventually depend extensively on the records (data) accumulated here. That would be like having primary data out there –(uniquely vulnerable, perhaps) careful thought and mechanisms have to be worked out to overcome the kind of threats that are surfacing in related movements.

    Internet can be only one dimension of a movement – let me reiterate there is no fear of the internet for activism, it has its problems, but, to locate the problem to the correct source is partly the solution.

    Agree with the rest. Dissipation of energy of few English speaking internet savvy dalits is no bigger or lesser than energy loss of any other kind of activists. We would like to guard against it if possible, I was attempting to learn from the experience of this movement.

  16. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    April 16, 2009 5:55 PM

    Okay, I see what you mean, Anu.

  17. May 4, 2009 12:05 PM

    use cracker if you meant an intruder
    use hacker if you meant someone who explores creative possibilities

    http://fci.wikia.com/wiki/IfYouAre#journalist

  18. May 24, 2009 4:19 AM

    Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women’s Support group

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50694268510

    The above facebook group is at almost 2,000 in number.

    We attempted to get the main group reinstated, to no avail. Perhaps if it was an NGO in North America, it may have gotten more publicity. As it is, we are attempting to grow again.

    Regards,
    Obi

Trackbacks

  1. Global Voices Online » India: Pink Chaddi Facebook Group Hacked
  2. The Perils of Facebook Activism: Nisha Susan Locked Out of Pink Chaddi Campaign Facebook Group | Gauravonomics Blog
  3. The Perils of Facebook Activism: Nisha Susan Locked Out of Pink Chaddi Campaign’s Facebook Group | DigiActive.org
  4. Global Voices Advocacy » The Perils of Facebook Activism: Nisha Susan Locked Out of Pink Chaddi Campaign’s Facebook Group
  5. How To Create Your Own Social Networking Site | TechRaga
  6. Why is Facebook Protecting Pro Rape Language and Abuse of Women? « anti-discrimination

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