Anti-Vaccine Facebook group gets hijacked, and it was beautiful! (Updated)

UPDATED 9/10/15: It seems that the anti-vaccine crowd has heard of this blog post and are now all up in a roar about it. They’re going as far as doxxing me on Facebook:

antivax_doxxing

Sigh. Will they ever learn?

*********

Unlike some of my colleagues, I’m not much for theatricality and deception. (Though I’ve heard that they are powerful weapons against the uninitiated.) When confronting antivaxxers, I like to be a little snarky, a little insolent, but always throw science and reason at them. There are some rules that I won’t break when arguing with antivax jerks.

First, I won’t “hit them where it hurts” and bring up their families, even if their family history is sure to get them riled up or even hurt them. It’s not fair. We all have relatives that we’d rather keep in the shadows, or things have happened in our lives that we would rather not look back on. Second, I don’t threaten to contact their employers. I did that one time and nothing happened. Then someone did it to me and caused a lot of trouble for me. (You would think that a health department wouldn’t give in to anti-vaccine demands?)  Third, I don’t get into theological discussions. A lot of antivaxxers like to claim that God created a “perfect immune system” and that vaccines ruin that “perfection.” It’s too easy to remind them that, theologically speaking, ever since the “Fall of Man,” there hasn’t been anything perfect about our bodies.

I try to stick to science and reason. It’s a good strategy.

However, in the last few days, I have been enjoying a good, old-fashioned “goating” of an anti-vaccine Facebook page.

A “goating” occurs something like this:

  • A Facebook page is created for some purpose. In this case, it was a page called “Troll-Free Vaccine Discussion.” It was a forum for anti-vaccine people to get together and discuss anti-vaccine stuff, like how to get out of vaccine requirements or how to counter scientific arguments for vaccination.
  • A person who opposes the views of the group joins under a pseudonym or fake profile. In this case, a pro-vaccine person asked to join the “Troll-Free Vaccine Discussion” group. Under what circumstances they joined is not clear at this time.
  • The infiltrator takes some time observing the group, perhaps even contributing to it. They will then gain the trust of the group’s administrator(s). With a lot of patience, our pro-vaccine person waited for the right time to befriend the anti-vaccine administrator(s). Some time later, the pro-vaccine person asked to be made an administrator of the group. (Or they were asked.)
  • Armed with administrator privileges, the infiltrator blocks out all of the other administrators and they and their friends begin posting meme after meme about goats.
  • The rest of the group’s members are then left in confusion as to what is going on. Sure, some of them try to fight back, but it’s to no avail. Their group has been taken over. In this case, the group was flooded with pro-vaccine people, all posting arguments for vaccination, goat memes, and shutting down any attempt by the anti-vaccine people to try and continue their echo chamber.
  • After a few days of goating, the new administrator closes the group, leaving it a desolate wasteland of goat memes and scattered anti-vaccine people.

This is exactly what happened to this group, with a minor variant. In this case, the group was started as a “honeypot” for antivaxxers to join. Once enough of them joined, the goating began, leaving all the antivax members confused and scared… Scared because they were outed as antivaxxers. Remember, the group was supposed to be secret.

Anyway, a couple of mornings ago, I found an invitation from a friend to join the group and begin the goating. By the time I joined the group, the goating was already in full force:

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.14.53 PM

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As I mentioned before, the antivaxxers lost their collective minds. For example, this “nurse” showed up and tried to convince everyone that vaccines were evil because she herself had “basically interrupted sids” (sic):

nurse_antivax

You can click on her profile and see that she claims to have worked at a hospital, which is scary if true.

If you’re interested in how the goating stunt got started, back in 2012, a group of internet “trolls” goated the Facebook page of an “independent congressional candidate” who had it coming to her:

“From what I understand (and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), it all began when a group of liberal trolls began trolling a 2012 independent congressional candidate by the name of Norma Jean Stevens who used an alias of “Samantha Adams” on Facebook. The trolling was well deserved as she was somewhat, er, shall we say unhinged? (Think anti-Semitic rants combined with a desire to rally teabaggers and overthrow the government.) It was soon discovered that Ms. Stevens/Adams had a fondness for goats. Hence, the goats were released and have been running rampant over deplorable Facebook pages ever since. (The Norma Jean Stevens fun has all but vanished from Facebook; if you’re interested, Craig Egan’s got some hilarious YouTube vids highlighting the insanity.)”

Here is one of those YouTube videos (contains harsh language):

And another one where she calls into a radio show (more harsh language):

Finally, “there are no terrorists” and we don’t deserve “neither liberty nor freedom”:

I'm a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

45 thoughts on “Anti-Vaccine Facebook group gets hijacked, and it was beautiful! (Updated)

  1. All of those goats made me hungry and I don’t get off of work until midnight!
    As for that woman, well, it’s nice to know that the terrorists I killed didn’t exist, so nobody was hurt. I can’t for the life of me figure out how that M4 got so dirty!
    I have no clue what she has against juice, personally I like juice. It’s great with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    It’s a shame that goatse is gone, they’d have *really* had fun with her.

    Like

  2. ***Ren’s note: This person has been asked on multiple occasions to keep the comments civil and not spam with anti-vaccine propaganda. He has decided to do it again, so I decided to publish this with some edits. Also, I had time to dispel some of his myths. Enjoy.***

    Wow you think it’s Ok! to poison children for little to no benefit?
    ***Ren comment: I don’t think you know what “poisoning” means. Also, is there a difference between “ok” and “Ok!”?***

    latest findings on the whooping cough vaccine is, that they maybe causing their own outbreaks.
    ***Really? Citation please? Furthermore, how can a vaccine that is acellular — meaning that it doesn’t have any viable pathogen in it, only pieces of one — cause disease? What, a piece of a bacteria can still cause an infection?***

    Then there’s little thorn in the side of the CDC, that’s pretty much proving that the CDC is and has been committing fraud on the science of vaccines as a cause for Autism.
    ***The vaccine “whistleblower” thing is so 2014. You should really look at something else. The couple of papers that came out of that fiasco have been thoroughly retracted by the journals.***

    Then you have 2 Merck whistle blowers, that is saying that Merck for the last 10 yr’s,has been busy committing criminal fraud on the efficacy of their MMR.
    ***Criminal fraud? So there has been a trial and conviction? No, there hasn’t. You probably have a fever. Look into that. It’s making you see things.***

    Get this they have been putting rabbits blood in the MMR to increase the efficacy. Except, it only does it on paper, it does not change the true efficacy. And the 2 WB’s also said, that we do not know what the long or even the short term health effects are on this Nation children, by inserting rabbits blood in the MMR.
    ***They were not putting rabbits’ blood. They were, allegedly, adding rabbit antibodies to increase the level of antibodies being detected in the samples they drew from people who got the MMR. This is very, very different from saying that they were putting blood in the MMR.***

    It appears ,that those in charge of vaccine safety are sick blithering Idiots. Here is his (CDC WB’s ) own words. A seventeen year CDC Senior scientist, saying ” I cannot believe we did what we did, but we did ” He then said, and I have the proof! Then there’s the fact that in 2014, the office of research integrity’s Dir resigned. His words were, that HHS and the CDC, they are hopelessly corrupt. With no chance! of reform. I guess that leaves you, defending fools gold! That appear to be turning out the sickest children this Nation has ever seen. It appears that just about everybody involved in this, is corrupt to the very core of their being. Selling out this Nation’s children, for their piece of the Pharma pie.
    ***Pharma shill gambit? Check. Conspiracy theory? Check. You win the anti-vax bingo!***

    (URL deleted. Leads to spam.)

    (URL deleted. Leads to spam.)

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  3. This kind of thing really gets my goat. I didn’t expect such baaaaad behavior from my fellow vaccine supporters. They’re usually such a sheepish bunch. But to see them ramming these memes down people’s throats? I’m sure goat times were had by all, but this goats too far. I just hope none of these struck home directly, that at most, this only grazed their feels. I suppose it cud be worse, though.

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  4. What does such behavior accomplish? You’re not going to change anyone’s mind about vaccinations. You’re bullying people for their parenting choices. You want to make a difference? Go to the conferences at the state house or sign a petition. People like you are part of the reason everyone is so horrible to each other these days. Way to be an outstanding member of society.
    #GrowTheFu**Up

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    • The accomplishment was that a group where dangerous ideas were spreading was shut down. Also, healthcare workers who believe in magic and are anti-science were exposed. No one was bullied. (You don’t seem to understand the meaning of bullying.) And I do engage in public health policy quite a lot. So it is obvious that this is a drive-by comment from someone who doesn’t know me personally and didn’t take the time to read the blog.
      And a hashtag in a comment? Really? Hashtags only work if you can click on them and see associated content.

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      • Did you not bullied the nurse in your post here? You didn’t even take out her name..
        In general tactics you are showing and are so proud of are something I would expect from a kindergarten, not well parented kid.

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        • No, I did not bully her. Again, look at the definition of bullying. And I did not take out her name because she posted this in a public place, visible to anyone who wanted to see it. She posted after the group was taken over and being goated. Also, she is, by her own admission, a nurse, and it is imperative that someone in her position be exposed as anti-vaccine and anti-science because her ideas and actions are a public health menace.

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    • It seems that somebody has really gotten your goat!
      Indeed, you are positively rammy over a simple facebook defacement and general shenanigans of otherwise herd immunity loving sheeple.
      Cud it be that someone was butted by the humor? Or cud it be someone can’t kid around?

      As for bullying, you obviously have no clue what bullying is if you call this bullying. Stop acting so goat headed dense and look up the word bully.
      Now! Before I look you up and tie your shoelaces together.

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    • If you take some time to read the “About” section, or even Google me, you’d see what “grade” I’m in. But, since you seem like the person that easily goes with something they read online, I’ll tell you that I’m in kindergarten. 😉

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      • Huh. Seems she’s a germ theory denialist, too. I always wonder why some people are so reluctant to believe that viruses and bacteria can cause disease, even in otherwise healthy individuals. I mean, sure, if you’re unhealthy, the course of disease will probably be worse for you, with a greater risk of complications (unless it’s something like the 1918 flu, which was worse for healthy people…yay cytokine storms!), but whether you are healthy or not plays little to no role in whether you become infected (and develop signs and symptoms of the disease) in the first place.

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        • Heh, cytokine storms along destroy intelligent design and “our bodies know how to cure themselves” nonsense.
          As for disbelieving germ theory, well, luddites have existed throughout history, this era is no different in that respect.

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  5. I played the voicemail for my wife, she was underwhelmed.
    But, I do wonder one thing and inquire of the woman, should she visit this page, “Is that the same mouth that you French kissed your mother with”?

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  6. Im sorry, did I make fun of anyone??? I wasn’t aware stating a fact was making fun!! Perhaps I should have put up a pic of a goat huh?

    I am very curious how you know my information though! Obviously a paid troll, but troll away dear friend! Not going to change a thing I say.

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    • Google “Melissa” plus the email address you entered, plus “vaccine” and you get all your Facebook comments that are not private. “The vaccinated strike again!!” is not making fun, eh?

      Yeah, I’m a paid troll, if that makes you feel better. (I’m not, but it’s not like you’ve shown to believe in reality lately.)

      Also, this is your last comment, Melissa. I’m not interested in a discussion with you here. Feel free to discuss me elsewhere.

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  7. I’m sure you won’t respond to me, obviously a troll. I guess you don’t want to admit to it huh? I googled it an none of that info came up.
    I’m glad you are making a solid living of of others pain!

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    • Melissa, this is the last time I tell you this. I do not make a living out of trolling and I am not associate with any pharmaceutical company. I blog on my own time and dime. Please stop it with the baseless accusations.

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    • How in the hell is someone who runs their own blog a troll on their own blog, Melissa?
      If anything, you, Melissa are behaving like a troll.
      There is a slang term used to describe the external os of the rectum that I am associating with you currently, just to keep things more family friendly.
      Now, why don’t you stick with peer reviewed scientific information and studies?
      Oh, you can’t, as none exist to support your bovine defecation.

      Oh, if you want to denounce me as as a paid whatever, I’m a retired SF medic and an information security professional. I deal with facts, peer reviewed research and peer reviewed facts daily in order to secure our network and our clients network infrastructure.

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      • She used two different email addresses to get around comment moderation. I’ve blocked her IP and her Verizon wireless account. She’s a known anti-vaccine troll on Facebook, using different accounts (or “socks”) to get past being banned. She’s not very smart, though. She’s given me a TON of information on her, from where she lives to her IP addresses and Verizon wireless account identification numbers. She won’t be commenting here for a while.

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        • Amateur. If you want to keep a secret identity, take the proper goddamned steps and don’t log in from the same IP address. Bruce Wayne and Batman were never in the same place at the same time. ;0)

          Liked by 1 person

        • There are quite a few folks around that put out so much information about themselves, that if a national security letter was issued, very little additional information could be learned.*

          *Sorry, but driving past FANX going back and forth for work tends to keep that notion close to mind.

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  8. ***Ren comment: Another “spammy” comment that needs to be answered in line.***

    “Science and reason” work very well when you don’t give a shit about children. So how does it feel to have hijacked an anti-vax group full of parents trying to change diapers or feed their teen children?

    ***Ren comment: I don’t know how it feels. I didn’t do it. I had nothing to do with the hijacking/goating. I was invited to partake in the festivities, but I got there too late.***

    or mock those who have lost a baby within a few days of receiving massive vaccines?

    ***Ren comment: I have never mocked anyone who has lost a loved one. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d like to see it so I can apologize. On the other hand, plenty of your anti-vaccine friends have harassed and doxed parents of children who have died from vaccine-preventable diseases. Look at what happened to the parents of Dana MacCaffery and Riley Hughes. Their parents have been told by antivax nuts that they, the parents, purposefully killed their children to get a check from Big Pharma.***

    Good for you. You’re right where you belong. You’re kinda in the same camp with the Lion killer. It’s just natural selection, right?

    ***Ren comment: The lion killer? That doesn’t even make any sense. You have natural selection all wrong, lady. Natural selection is not about survival of the fittest. In the natural world, even the fittest don’t survive. Surely, the human race would have long been extinct if we had not developed these big brains of ours, brains that allow us to think and create… Create vaccines so that things that would kill other apes wouldn’t kill us.***

    Sadly, you may be educated but why don’t you find out who educated you. You might feel just a little stupid when you realize all your books–and your professors were in the pockets of big pharma. Sleep well.

    ***Ren comment: Who can sleep well knowing that there are people like you out there, people hellbent on bringing back some very horrible diseases? I doubt that my teachers in Mexico, where I and the other students had to take firewood to school to keep us all warm, were in the pockets of Big Pharma. Because it was my elementary school teachers who set me on the path of science. I was able to think critically about scientific concepts by the time I was twelve. But that’s the thing… You sit there in your position of privilege and think that you’re such a freethinker when, in fact, you belong to an antivax group of sheep numbering in the thousands who wouldn’t (and couldn’t) take a course in epidemiology out of utter fear of being awakened, of having your world shaken.***

    (Deleted URL that went to spam.)

    (Deleted URL that went to, of all places, the package inserts of vaccines. I guess you trust Pharma to include that information out to the public, but don’t trust them otherwise?)

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    • Thanks, man. I’m surprised you hadn’t run into the blog before. I guess [REDACTED, for her safety given all the antivax nuttery going on around here] hasn’t shared my awesome words of wisdom. :-p

      Speaking of wisdom, meet Wzrd. Like you, he’s served our country proudly. You two would get along famously.

      Also, can I borrow your AR-15?

      Like

      • Thanks for redacting her name… it was poor PERSEC. And I’m not sure my AR is PA-legal! But you can come down here and shoot it with me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes. I feel like letting off some steam. Shoot me an email (no pun intended).
          All I have here at Casa de Ren is the [REDACTED], a [REDACTED], and, of course, the [REDACTED] just like the one my Great Uncle used in what is now North Korea. I need to feel the power.

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        • Flagged for FANX to feed to BATFE.
          I’m a PA resident, lifelong resident, save for some adventures that were taxpayer funded abroad. Those adventures weren’t fun at all.
          I’ll not ask Rene to grant log access, it’ll go NSL and FISA court.
          Suffice it to say, child, your firearm better be 16 inches long and *only* semi-automatic, or have an NFA tax stamp.
          Otherwise, you will go to prison.

          I drive past FANX for a reason. We share information.
          This evening, I’ve learned of a potential security threat to this nation, considering our proximity to our nation’s capital.
          Here’s the fun thing.
          I’m *really* forgiving, save when someone gives a thinly veiled threat of violence. That especially within literal hearing of the NSA, which is very close to the national capital.
          If you have a clearance, it just became had. Neither of you shall ever be awarded a public trust position.

          BTW, if you have JWICS access, you can easily find me and find how to speak with me.

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          • Unless you’ve missed the context of the continuing idiocy of US politics, it *is* about firearms.
            The AR* nonsense proves it.
            Something that previous to my departure to defend this land was out of bounds, now it’s common right side discourse, making both my wife of 33 years and myself sorry that we returned home and sorry that we failed to evacuate our children and grandchildren.

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  9. This is awesome. And it also shows, again, why I avoid Facebook. Except I would love to know about Brett and [RETRACTED], because that sounds too interesting.

    To keep up the goat theme, here is the only thing I have to offer: you can buy goat cheese very cheap at a big box store (personally we prefer the one that actually provides for their employees and allowed a movie to be filmed in one of their stores). But it is hard to store and work with. So when we get it home I chill it for a bit, and then chop it up and put it into a container for the freezer. It is much easier to handle when semi-frozen. It is easy to put into salad, and it is really nice on the super thin pizza inspired cheese bread I bake (one that includes sage, prosciutto and garlic along along several cheeses, including goat, is fantastic!).

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      • *If* you ever get around to meeting us during my problematic work hours, ask my wife about my cousin’s goat and some unfortunate head butting.
        It’s likely you’ll be on the ground laughing. 🙂
        We both enjoy lamb, goat meat and dislike US beef unflavor.
        The story, you gotta be with us to hear it.

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  10. So, I have [REDACTED]’s info if you would like to contact him. He blocked me after I asked why post personal information in a public forum. Email me if you desire it.

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    • I saw that you posted it on VRM. It may be a closed group, but the whole world can see what is posted there. Now, tell me, do you believe any of that stuff?

      Like

Comments are closed.