Big Think's Facebook Fan Page Hacked and Sending out Horrifying Spam
UPDATE: This has been solved, thanks to our unbelievably amazing fans.
Jason Gots is a New York-based writer, editor, and podcast producer. For Big Think, he writes (and sometimes illustrates) the blog "Overthinking Everything with Jason Gots" and is the creator and host of the "Think Again" podcast. In previous lives, Jason worked at Random House Children's Books, taught reading and writing to middle schoolers and community college students, co-founded a theatre company (Rorschach, in Washington, D.C.), and wrote roughly two dozen picture books for kids learning English in Seoul, South Korea. He is also the proud father of an incredibly talkative and crafty little kid.
UPDATE: Kenroy George, a Big Think fan to whom we will be grateful as long as we live, helped us get Facebook's attention on this. We deeply apologize to all the fans who were confused and outraged by the nasty stuff that has been populating our Facebook feed since late last night, and thank all of you who have retweeted this post and shared it in the comments on our (formerly hacked) FB page. There's a lot more to say about this in the coming days. Meanwhile, all the junk has been deleted and we're back online.
Friends of Big Think,
Late Wednesday night Eastern time, Big Think's staff experienced a very (and literally) rude awakening. Through a flurry of emails from loyal fans and text messages and phone calls among ourselves, we all learned that our fan page had been hacked and was spamming 1.3 million people's Facebook feeds every couple of minutes with extremely disturbing content, much of it sexist and/or sexual in nature. Worse, we quickly realized that everyone at Big Think had been removed as admins of the account, and we had no way of getting back in.
Several staff members including myself were up much of the night trying to find a solution. Discussion threads all over the Internet reveal that many others have found themselves in a similar situation, and that Facebook offers little official recourse beyond submitting a report ticket online and waiting for a response. We did this, we tweeted to Facebook and FB's ad team, we reached out to a friend at Facebook, and we even wrote to Superhacker Kevin Mitnick, a past Big Think interviewee, hoping for a quick resolution. As of 9am EDT, we haven't been able to plug the leak or regain control of the page.
All of us here are horrified by what's happened. Obviously, this kind of content couldn't be further from what Big Think--an educational forum for the brightest minds on the planet and a company deeply dedicated to inclusiveness--is about or wants to communicate to our amazing readers across the Internet.
And they (you) are amazing. From the moment this leak started, many of us at here have been receiving wholeheartedly helpful email alerts from fans, all of them concerned about what this means for Big Think and its audience.
We're not naive. We know that people don't want their Facebook pages flooded with disgusting spam, and that many will unlike the page before this is over. But our site and our YouTube channel are as strong as ever, and we won't rest until the Facebook page is back to itself again. And we'll take every available security measure to ensure that this never happens again.
And if you're aware of a smart and speedy solution to this problem besides those mentioned above, we'd love to hear from you. Seriously.
Thank you to all those who enjoy Big Think's articles and video interviews. Please bear with us and we'll let you know the instant everything is back to normal.
Managing Editor, Big Think
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