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August 11, 2020 » Today News » /

Facebook hackers use Islamic State propaganda to target ABC host Julia Baird

Facebook hackers use Islamic State propaganda to target ABC host Julia Baird


  • LLL-GFATF-ISIS Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]

 Affected Countries: australia;

Hackers are hijacking people’s social media accounts, using them to post terrorist propaganda and stopping the account owners from getting them back in a new tactic affecting ordinary Australians and prominent public figures.

One lawyer says Facebook is not doing enough to combat the new technique, saying the social giant giants fails to meet requirements of its own contract with users.

“It’s not doing what it says it will do, it’s not combating harmful conduct and protecting and supporting our community, it’s effectively shutting out someone that’s been hacked,” Sydney law firm Dowson Turco partner Nicholas Stewart told

“If Facebook wants to be consistent with what it puts out there as its Terms of Service, you would think that it would respond to a person’s request for help.”

Over the weekend, ABC host and Nine newspaper columnist Julia Baird had her Facebook account compromised, which the hackers then edited to feature the flag of the Islamic State terrorist group as its profile picture and background.

This is apparently not the first time this has happened.

Melbourne pilot Jake Barden told Nine News last month the same thing had happened to him.

“It was quite creepy. I was starting to get worried but I thought it has to be a hack, someone is hacking in to my account,” he said after noticing his profile had also been changed to the ISIS flag.

His Facebook account and his linked Instagram account then disappeared after the hackers violated the social media platform’s community standards.

Similar to Ms Baird’s case, the hackers soon turned their attention to the aviation business where Mr Barden worked, using his compromised account to delete all the other administrators before purchasing a few hundred dollars worth of Facebook ads for an Asian clothing company.

In October last year Nine also reported a Gold Coast woman who conducted her business using the Instagram platform Facebook owns lost access in a similar attack, which netted the hackers a similarly paltry sum of a little over $400.

Mr Stewart said he had a client in a similar boat.

“Someone has hacked their personal Facebook and uploaded the ISIS flag to their profile photo and background, which has then triggered Facebook to deactivate the account,” he said.

“That seems to be the M.O. of the hackers, I have no idea what the ultimate goal is but the consequences are really real.”

In response to Ms Baird’s situation, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said it was indicative of another disturbing social media trend.

“While online abuse, hatred and humiliation can be directed at anybody, prominent individuals are especially vulnerable, particularly if they are women,” she said of Ms Baird, who is both.

Ms Grant told “large companies such as Facebook” have been receptive in principle to the concept of “safety by design”.

“eSafety consistently takes the position that user safety should be a key feature of the design and development of online services and platforms, not an add-on after disaster strikes.”

She said she welcomed the receptiveness but “unfortunately, this does not always prevent human malfeasance or totally minimise all online risks”.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company was “committed to safeguarding the integrity of our services and take action on any attempt to gain unauthorised access to user accounts”.

“We’re working to secure this account, and we encourage people to strengthen their security by turning on app-based two-factor authentication and alerts for unrecognised logins,” a Facebook company spokesperson said.

Mr Stewart said Facebook needed to work harder and had the means to do so.

“We know it’s extremely profitable, it should have resources that enable it to deal with issues like this.

He said the company’s own Terms of Service amounted to an obligation for it to provide a safe community for its users.

Source: Adelaide Now