How a #MeToo Facebook Group Became a Tool for Harassment | WIRED

By Louise Matsakis
July 20, 2018

Last year, as thousands of women shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment with the hashtag #MeToo, Amanda, a 30-year-old from Oregon, was looking for a supportive place to share her own experiences. Soon enough she was invited by a friend to join a Facebook group for survivors of sexual assault that had thousands of members.

The group was easy to find: As recently as this month, the page associated with it ranked higher in some search results than the #MeToo page verified by Facebook. The group, which also had “me too” in the name, looked legitimate to Amanda. Best of all, it was “closed,” meaning that while the group showed up in search results, new members needed an admin’s approval to join and only members could see what was posted in it.

“People shared the most intimate moments of trauma with these people,” says Amanda. (WIRED is declining to include her last name to protect her privacy.)

Then suddenly earlier this month, Amanda noticed the group’s name and photo had been changed. The same day President Trump had mocked the #MeToo movement at a rally in Montana, trolls began descending on her community. The group was now advertised as a place for sharing erotica and an account Amanda didn’t recognize had become the administrator. They began adding new members; many of these profiles, when later examined by WIRED appeared to be fake.

Source: How a #MeToo Facebook Group Became a Tool for Harassment | WIRED

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