Hacked accounts on Facebook have been a problem since the social network got started. To some, having their account hacked is a fate worse than death. Rogue status updates have terrified parents, ended friendships and broken up couples.
But now, a new site encourages Facebookers to hack their own pages – and people are actually doing it.
In fact, Hack My Facebook, as the site is called, won $500 from the data company AddThis for making waves straight out of the PennApps competition last weekend (Sept. 14-16) at the University of Pennsylvania.
The idea behind Hack My Facebook is simple: log into the site with your Facebook credentials, pick one of several "flavors," sit back, and watch as your online self posts annoying messages and outright lies. No additional effort on your part is required.
Hack My Facebook will post lyrics to annoying songs, overwrought political messages, thoughts of dropping out, and pregnancy announcements.
Once you're sick of the app's misinformation, there's a handy "unhack your Facebook" button that will stop the app from posting any more baloney.
According to Techland, Hack My Facebook sprang from a more nefarious iteration of the app. BuddyHack, as it was originally known, was meant to hack into other people's Facebook accounts and automatically post untruths. But 30 minutes before it was set to debut, Facebook shut it down, citing a violation of their terms of service. Who would have thought?
TIME's Techland blog reported Hack My Facebook is "going viral." However, hackmyfacebook.com had only 137 likes on Facebook and had been tweeted only 42 times as of this writing. By contrast, buddyhack.com actually did go viral, achieving roughly 400 unique page views each minute and making it the top spot on Hacker News before it had even launched.
Speculation as to "the point" of self-hacking has been vocal online. One Techland commenter summed it up like this: "If you wanted to pretend you got hacked, couldn't you just manually type inflammatory stuff in your status update and then claim you got hacked afterwards in the comments section or in another status update? The only thing this app does is automate the process ... with canned material. Are people that lazy/uninspired that they can't come up with the fake hack material on their own?"