Are we on the same page if I write a blog about Facebook hacking? Not the genuine kind of hacking where hackers steal all of your personal information for the purposes of credit card fraud or identity theft, and it's never as funny in real life as it was when it happened to Monica off Friends. Just the Cyber Bullying Lite kind. The kind where some unsuspecting soul leaves their Facebook logged in and they come back to find that their status has been updated to "Mmmmm I love PENIZ" or "Jenna is my best friend and without her the world would stop turning" or something. Trust me, it's a thing. I have never really been one to participate because my hatred of organised fun begins at Scrabble, hovers over cards and skateboards, then reaches to the very corners of obstacle courses, team sports and any kind of activity where there are rules. Generally, this hatred prevents me from doing most things socially apart from drinking and eating cheese. With Facebook hacking the rules seem to be loosely based around forgetting to log out and having friends who are assholes.
Sometimes though, hacking can actually be kind of funny. Once, my friend Felicity hacked into Rupert's Facebook to update his status to "I hate Love Actually." To those who know Rupert, this was truly shocking. Through denouncing Martine Mccutcheon's beanie; a soundtrack of classic Christmas hits and eight or so clumsily woven heteronormative plot lines, it was as if Rupert had thrown away his first born child. And for a conservative gay man, the disposal of a much wanted baby would be cause for concern indeed. Rupert actually loves Love Actually. How could you hate it so suddenly, Rupert? Don't you know that the twelve year old girl who played Joanna sung 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' so perfectly that they had to add in little breathing sounds in post production to make it believable? Don't you know that the reveal when Hugh Grant is kissing Martine during the school play actually happened in REAL LIFE and the audience reaction is real? Haven't you watched the deleted scenes that they filmed in Africa? There was an initial flurry of internet activity, with offers of support and counselling coming as thick and fast as the gays would have gone to the box office if the vaguely homosexual storyline in Valentines Day was actually advertised in the trailer. Then, the hoax was revealed. Widespread relief. Congratulations Felicity.
Other times, hacking can actually be really offensive. Offensive even beyond the I'll-update-your-status-to-be-something-sexual-because-don't-you-know-you're-a-girl-and-you're-supposed-to-put-out-but-God-forbid-you-act-like-you-like-it kind of hacking. When I got home tonight, I noticed that a Facebook aquaintance of mine had been hacked.
E's profile picture had been changed to this:
(Edit - um okay, photobucket. Block an image of a woman doing up her pants. Here is a link to the image.)
E's status had been updated to "Mmmmmmm www.buckangel.com"
(That link is mightily unsafe for work by the way, Buck Angel is transgender porn star. Well, it's unsafe for work if you work at a school or a Government Department. If you worked at like, Good For Her, it would probably be fine. Here is his wiki.)
And she had 'liked' the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. A group whose bio reads:
"The Task Force: the uncompromising voice for LGBT equality for more than 30 years.[...]As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all."
How hilarious. Fatphobia, Transphobia, Whorephobia and Homophobia all bundled into one side-splitting hack.
When I masochistically kept scrolling down my news feed, I saw that another Facebook aquaintance, K who totally does not know E and has a vastly different social circle due to both geographic location and age, had also been hacked. Just a charmingly simple dose of homophobia this time:
By the way, the full name of that group was "I hate it when guys hit on me when I am quite obviously a lesbian". LOLZ, right?
The only thing that makes this stuff funny is privilege. The privilege that the hacker and the hackee have to utilize othered and marginalized groups as their punch line. It is funny to make E's profile picture that of an actual living, breathing fat woman who has thoughts and feelings and likes and dislikes and desires and goals, because E is thin. It is funny to post that she loves Buck Angel, a transman porn star, one because she is cisgender and because transexuals can't be sexual, because they're gross, right? And because no-one should admit to watching porn, because it's dirty, even though it seems like Buck is laughing all the way to the bank. It is funny to make E join the Gay and Lesbian Task Force and for K to assert that she loves being a lesbian, because in real life E and K are actually heterosexual. Would it be funny if I joined the Gay and Lesbian Taskforce? Oh no, wait, I have a girlfriend who I have LESBIAN SEX with so the joke is over. It is funny because E and K and their friends live in a society where thin, straight and cisgendered people have the privelege and the power. Their bodies and their gender and their sex lives aren't just considered a joke in and of themselves. Fat people, gay people and transpeople aren't normal, so they must a be a joke.
And, at the end of the day, it's a joke right? I should lighten up, huh. I just need to take a train to Chilloutville. It's not as if jokes like this actually perpetuate power imbalance in our society or anything. It's not like the majority of transpeople have suffered from abuse and it's not like gay people are sometimes prevented from seeing their long term partner while they are dying, because they don't have the same civil rights or anything. It's not like fat people are physically attacked because of what their body looks like. I mean why do my feminazi chums and I have to take everything so seriously?
Sorry, I had to post some Angelina because I was getting too worked up. Being a feminazi can be very exhausting.
Just a hint, if you are in doubt about your hacking behaviours, don't rely on OTHERED GROUPS IN SOCIETY for your punchline. Or just ask my friend Felicity for advice. Go for the weak spot. Which in an idealistically built-on-equality-and social-justice kind of world would be less about sexual orientation and more about British romantic comedies. Bring on the hacks! Four Weddings and a Funeral! Notting Hill! About a Boy! Bridget Jones! Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason! Come on my friends, Hugh Grant and I are waiting!
NB - Dear readers, it has come to my attention that it was actually Scarlett who pranked Rupert, actually. Scarlett, from Sweet Bitch of the Week fame. Hacking, it is a secretive business.