Christian rock fans were confused and/or entertained by some out-of-place posts made from their favorite bands' Facebook pages this weekend--posts that brought big headaches to the artists and their management.
Throughout the day on Saturday, April 22, the Facebook pages of various bands including Thousand Foot Krutch, Manafest, The City Harmonic, Spoken and Art of Dying were hijacked, pointing to a number of random pop culture articles via several clickbait-type websites that were associated with one another.
Headlines such as "Fitness Blogger Reveals What Happens When You Don't Shave Legs and Pits For 1 Year..." and "What Were They Thinking? The Worst Bathroom Fails Ever" hit news feeds for several hours. Some posts featured things like celebrity gossip and making healthy meals resemble the faces of cartoon characters, while others were of a more controversial, inappropriate and at times profane nature.
Fans mostly informed the bands that their pages had been hacked, while some took the posts at face value and expressed their confusion or concern regarding the out-of-character content that had been shared. Other fans, recognizing the peculiarity of the moment, took the opportunity to make light of the hack. In response to an article debunking myths about childbirth for men, one Spoken fan remarked, "This is the theme for their next concept record."
According to someone familiar with the situation, the common denominator linking the bands was an as-yet-unnamed individual who serves as all the bands' social media managers. That person was hacked, and the hackers then consolidated access to the band pages, removing all other page managers but the hacker(s).
While bands attempted to regain control of their pages and make posts telling fans that they were indeed hacked, the hackers worked tirelessly to delete such updates. Only The City Harmonic was able to get a Facebook message out to fans that sustained.
"Hi everyone, this is the third time we've posted this (others have been repeatedly deleted), but yes, a hacker has been attacking the Facebook pages of multiple bands and posting articles against our will. It is unfortunately not as simple as changing a password, as they gave themselves ownership control of the page, and Facebook have not yet been helpful in restoring our ownership. We appreciate your patience as we work through this, and try our best while traveling to vigilantly remove posts and fake admins as they go."
Other bands took to Twitter and Instagram to let their fan base know what was happening.
"Yes, our Facebook has been hacked; working on resolving the issue ASAP. Please follow us back once this is over with, thank you!" tweeted Art of Dying.
Spoken's lead singer Matt Baird posted a screen capture from Facebook via Twitter and Instagram, showing fans he had lost ownership of the page just after 11 a.m. Central time, warning fans in case they get any weird messages or see "something crazy" on the Facebook page.
Indeed, as of press time, the hackers made more than 160 posts, with the most recent occurring at 6:42 p.m. Central time Sunday.
The timing couldn't be worse for Spoken, as they're without a key social media tool during their PledgeMusic campaign to fund their ninth album with pre-orders.
Along with Spoken, Manafest seems to have taken the brunt of the hacking, as the rapper not only has had just as many posts as Spoken via Facebook (although only 4 posts still remain on the page, one had appeared as recently as 8 p.m. CDT Sunday night), but his Twitter feed is also affected, as his Facebook page automatically forwards posts as tweets.
“Sorry for all the crazy tweets,” Manafest tweeted to fans. “My Facebook account was hacked. We are working on it. Please pray we get this resolved soon!” In another tweet, he thanked followers “for all your messages, texts and prayers.”
Thousand Foot Krutch appears to have regained control of their Facebook page, having deleted all evidence of the hacked posts (except for some visitor posts that claim, “I’m glad you got your page back!”).