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Ad Company Hijacks Beck and Palin Facebook Pages: ‘Letterbombed’

October 29, 2010

It’s called “letterbombing.” Originally created by an ad agency, it‘s supposed to give companies a way to use others’ Facebook pages as ad space. No permission required.

If it sounds somewhat devious, it is. Letterbombing’s website sums up the concept like this: “Congratulations. You’re about to become an Internet vandal.”

Although it seems simple enough, the company behind the idea couldn’t get people to buy the service. So instead of sulk, it decided to have fun with the concept itself by staging some high profile hijackings. The businessmen pranksters decided to target those with whom they have “ideological differences:” Fox News, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck. On October 14, they launched their attack.

It worked.

The hijackers message of choice wasn’t original — they stole the slogan of Stephen Colbert’s one-time rally “Keep fear alive.” Then, each member of the group changed their profile picture to the appropriate letter and posted in order on the targets’ Facebook pages. The result is a message that runs down the page.

“You and your friends simultaneously leave posts on someone’s Facebook wall,” the site explains. “Once you ‘reserve’ a block of posts, change your profile pictures to a letter, spelling out anything you want.”

The masterminds are Jeff Greenspan, Chris Baker, and Danny Adrain, colleagues at a New York City ad agency. While some may call their idea funny, genius, sophomoric, irreverent, or Facebook terrorism, they describe it as “a subversive way to deliver a message anywhere on Facebook.”

“Glenn Beck was an easy target. Sarah Palin was an easy target. Fox News was an easy target,” Greenspand told the Daily Beast, later adding “it‘s still really funny to make it look like Glenn Beck’s followers or Sarah Palin’s followers are saying [Keep Fear Alive]. So we thought it worked on a couple of levels.”

But the group didn’t stop at mocking conservatives. It continued “bombing” others, including teenage singing sensation Justin Bieber and even Colbert’s old rally rival Jon Stewart. It tried to hit New York Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo, but a random poster disrupted the letter flow.

The group was later successful in posting a message on New York Gov. David Patterson’s page that read “Sign the autism bill.” He later vetoed it.

Although the messages thus far have been political, they don’t have to be. The group’s site says anything is fair game: “A political rally cry? A happy birthday message to a friend? The full text of War and Peace?”

It says it will support anything: “We wish you success.”

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