In response to last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando, the hacker group, Anonymous, paid tribute to the victims by breaking into dozens of pro-ISIS Twitter accounts and posting LGBT pride messages and images.
Although, Twitter did not admit that the accounts were hacked, Anonymous claimed on June 10 to have hacked into about 1,500 pro-ISIS, also referred to as Daesh, Twitter accounts, giving them rainbow themes. Gone are the tweets in support of Omar Mateen and images of the ISIS flag. In their place are now gay pride profile pictures, non-graphic gay pornography, and slogans such as “I’m Gay and I’m Proud,” “Out and Proud,” and “LGBTQ Pride Month.”
— WauchulaGhost (@WauchulaGhost) June 15, 2016
— WauchulaGhost (@WauchulaGhost) June 16, 2016
— WauchulaGhost (@WauchulaGhost) June 14, 2016
“The hacker WauchulaGhost, who’s been altering the Twitter accounts of ISIS sympathizers for months, is the mastermind behind the effort,” said Adam K. Raymond in an article for New York Magazine. “He says he noticed celebrations of the Orlando shooting among the users he watches and attacked the only way he knows how.”
The accounts that were hacked were all renamed “Jacked by a Ghost,” and most of them linked to the CIA’s website. While some of the accounts have since been suspended, many are still live according to CBS San Francisco.
“I did it for the lives lost in Orlando,” WauchulaGhost told Newsweek. “Daesh [ISIS] have been spreading and praising the attack, so I thought I would defend those that were lost. The taking of innocent lives will not be tolerated.”
A spokesperson for Twitter stated on Wednesday that the social media platform condemns its use to promote terrorism or any other violent threats, noting that since mid-2015, they’ve suspended over 125,000 accounts for promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to the Islamic State.
The Anonymous-affiliated hacker, WauchulaGhost, has been breaking into pro-ISIS accounts since at least March 2016 and sees himself as something of an online vigilante, pointing out that Twitter is seemingly relying on his ability to unearth ISIS members so that it can delete their accounts. He also claims that his social media campaign has resulted in the deletion of hundreds of accounts by Twitter, further suggesting that he’s aiding their mission to rid itself of terrorism.
“My goal waking up in the morning [is to] see messages from Daesh, telling me they’re going to kill me or cut my head off,” he told the Washington Post. “The madder they get, the happier I get.”
By Carlin Becker