Boston Globe weighs in on Romney Facebook Hacking

Bobby Calvan of the Boston Globe interviewed me this afternoon and wrote an excellent story on the Romney Facebook Hacking phenomenon. Hopefully this will bring out more information!

Visit Mitt Romney’s page on Facebook and you’ll see 11.6 million “likes.” Lee Wolf, a self-described liberal who likes nothing about Romney’s politics, was stunned to hear from friends on the online social network that his name had popped up as an apparent supporter of the Republican presidential candidate.

“I don’t believe in anything he says. He’s not somebody I’d be voting for,” said Wolf, who owns the Lobster Shanty, a restaurant in downtown Salem. “I’m still wondering how it happened.”

Others are wondering, too.

Clickjacking the cause of Romney Facebook likes?

I decided to delve a bit into the hacking underworld yesterday, wanting to learn more about how Facebook users could be signed up for pages they didn’t like. It turns out that a Google search for “facebook clickjacking” returns a lot of results.

I downloaded one clickjacking kit from a site called and took a look. It includes this line in a file called like.js:

var thehairs = “< iframe id='theiframe' scrolling='no' frameBorder='0' allowTransparency='true' src='" + encodeURIComponent(fan_page_url) + "&layout=standard&show_faces=true&width=53&action=like&colorscheme=light&height=80' style='position:absolute;width:53px;height:23px;overflow:hidden;border:0;opacity:" + opacity +";filter:alpha(opacity=" + opacity * 100+ ");' >< /iframe >“;

Basically, it sneaks in an iframe on the page and kicks off the like.php script to “like” the desired page. There doesn’t appear to be anything magic about what this does. If the user is logged into Facebook (in another browser window, for instance), this script should register a like. Futhermore, that like should be logged in the Activity Log as any other like would be.

Based on this behavior, I’m pretty confident that these mysterious Romney Facebook likes aren’t being generated through clickjacking.

Smoking gun unlikely in Romney Facebook hacking case

I fell asleep last night with the thought in my mind that there’s not likely to be any “smoking gun” evidence with regard to the Mitt Romney Facebook hacking mystery. I know it happened to me and I know that I can prove that I never clicked on Romney’s page. Beyond that, I can’t speak for anyone else.

All I can do is collect the many stories of people like me who have found themselves signed up for Romney’s page without knowing it. These anecdotes are the most compelling evidence so far and so far they show no signs of slowing.

Why Romney Facebook hacks aren’t from Facebook mobile

With Facebook’s speculation to Mother Jones that hundreds of its users have liked Mitt Romney’s Facebook page mistakenly through their mobile application, I decided to see just what happens when one likes a Facebook ad from the Facebook mobile app. This turned out to be much more difficult than it first seemed because Android apparently has no built-in screenshot capability. I spent over an hour installing and figuring out the Android SDK on my PC before I finally got to the point of taking screenshots.

Yes, it’s a lot of work but, dammit, I need to know.

I fired up the Facebook mobile app on my LG Optimus V phone running Android 2.2.2. Near the top of my news feed was an ad for Samsung (names blurred to protect the guilty!):

Holding my breath, I clicked on the Like button:
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Mother Jones on Romney Facebook hacking

Last week I was contacted by Erika Eichelberger of Mother Jones magazine who was curious about my blog posts covering the Mitt Romney Facebook hacking issue. She was interested in talking to other victims, so I put her in touch with a few people on the Hacked By Mitt Romney page.

Her story ran this morning but it concluded a whole lot of nothing:

So we asked the social-networking company to do that. Facebook agreed, and had a team research the issue. They concluded that users are probably liking the Romney page on a mobile device by either accidentally clicking on a Romney ad or a “sponsored story” from the Romney campaign in their news feed. A Facebook spokesman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the issue is unique to mobile because of the way the app works on small screens, and rejected the idea that the Romney camp was engaging in clickjacking. He added that the company is currently working to clean up its mobile interface.

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Daily Kos: Romney Facebook Fraud-Is this legal?

I’ve been searching the web on a regular basis for mentions of Mitt Romney and Facebook. For some reason I just found this mention of Romney Facebook hacking that was posted on Daily Kos by user MilleNeon back on August 18th – long before I got hacked by Romney myself. As far as I know it’s the earliest mention of this phenomenon on the Internet.

This is a short diary, because I just want someone to tell me how to get this to someplace where it can be reported, like Huff Post.

Looked on my FB page, and in the ad column I saw an ad that said three of my FB friends had “liked” Romney. One is a close friend, and she was appalled that her name was in the ad.

Someone told me companies are bundling FB “friends” and selling them. Is this legal?

I grabbed a screenshot of the ad. Does anyone know who I can send this to so this fraud can be publicized?

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Another Romney Facebook hacking victim speaks up

I received this response today on a post from another blog about Mitt Romney’s Facebook hacking (emphasis mine):

I told my husband that I have been seeing friends of his that we KNOW would never vote for Romney “like” him on facebook. We are discussing this while family is visiting and then my husbands father tells me that he saw I had “liked” Romney on facebook a couple of weeks ago. I would know if I had done this. I would rather eat a hand full of stink bugs. I do not like this one bit.

Another unknowing Romney Facebook fan

A Facebook user posted this account in Facebook’s forums earlier today:

I was scrolling my feed two nights ago when I saw that my husband ‘liked’ Mitt Romney’s page. I whacked him in the head. He said, “I didn’t do that.” So we went immediately to his account and ‘unliked’ the page.

How can they do this? I know why they are doing it, though: media pundits are talking about social media ratings and how “everybody” is talking about Romney! No doubt they want lots & lots & lots of “likes” to his page, and it ain’t happening on its own.

See? He’s all about “APPEARANCES” and nothing about SUBSTANCE! These phony “likes” will not equate into votes, Mittens. Don’t count on it.

Apparently the Romney Facebook hacking continues.

St. Louis columnist still mystified by Romney Facebook hack

I sent an email to St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Pat Gauen after his recent column detailing how his Facebook page was hacked by Mitt Romney. I told him that if his theory is true that simply hovering over Romney’s ad is all that’s needed to register a like, then it becomes quite difficult for Romney’s campaign to deny its involvement in these shenanigans.

Gauen responded:

Thanks for your note. While I have absolutely no doubt that it registered as I hovered, I could not make it happen again. I only presume that anyone savvy enough to program it to register “like” on a hover would be wily enough to shut out somebody who (as I did) realizes what happened and follows with an “unlike.” After a while, the ad just wasn’t there anymore.


Meanwhile, users continue to complain about this practice in the Facebook user forums.

More Mitt Romney Facebook hijacks

A few other Facebook users are reporting that their accounts were used to like Mitt Romney’s page without their permission.

One person replied to my post to the Facebook help forum with this comment:

“The same thing happened to me and a few other people I know.”

Then there is this comment:
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