My Post About Feminism Went Viral. Days Later, My Twitter Account Was Hacked.

Posted on
Jan 17, 2018
30

Last week, I wrote about what happened when I tried making the cinnamon roll recipe from Mario Batali’s sexual misconduct apology letter. The inclusion of the recipe – in a letter apologizing for sexual harassment – was so ill-advised that it made the time my uncle brought a camcorder to a funeral seem like a good idea. But the fact that it was also a shitty recipe … well … (insert guttural growling sound). By the end of the night, I was a being made of pure rage, held together with icing, and it was in that mindset that I ended up writing about the recipe, and about all the bullshit that surrounded it.

(Oh, also, I am using Leslie Knope GIFs throughout this post because she’s my patronus right now.)

A lot of people ended up sharing the post. I suspect because these days, most of us are made up of pure rage. Most of us are tired of shitty things happening to us, and annoyed by the shitty apologies that follow, and the shitty recipes that accompany those apologies do nothing to temper our anger.

Most of the responses I received were positive, and in such a quantity to be overwhelming. The restaurant critic for The New York Times said this, which resulted in me lying down on the ground, staring up at the ceiling and mumbling incoherently for a good five minutes:

A few of the responses were awful, but I’ve found that having your own site means that you can edit hate comments. I often change them to what I think the author’s true intent was (before deleting them altogether).

Behold:

I’ve had posts go viral before, and even the ones that aren’t about inherently controversial topics have resulted in abuse and threats and insults, because I dared insult the Paleo diet, or I dyed our milk pink, or I didn’t like Soylent and the man-children couldn’t handle it.

 

And I’m used to all that. Or I’m getting used to it. It still amazes me when people say hateful things to me because, you know, it’s a fucking personal blog and seriously I barely have time to shower so how do you possibly have time to write me a treatise on why sexual harassment doesn’t exist, Larry?

You get used to insults being hurled at you on every forum imaginable. You’ll find that people will create accounts just so they can tell you how reprehensible of a human you are because you made cinnamon rolls. But somehow, these assholes still manage to surprise you.

On Sunday morning, I found out my Twitter account was hacked.

Those of you who follow me may have noticed that my profile picture – a snapshot of me taken in Belfast by my husband – was briefly replaced with a starry night sky. My name – previously just “Geraldine” (I don’t tend to use my last name because seriously who besides your great aunt is named Geraldine) was replaced with something that suggested sea life, misspelled to include two fucking umlauts.

My Twitter account briefly looked like it was run by a new-age German surf brand.

 

The only tweet that came from my account Sunday was one that said “like if your active,” – a goddamn typo, broadcast to fifty thousand people. The sort of punishment so decidedly cruel for a copywriter that I’d almost rather they’d sent out porn because porn serves a purpose and typos do not.

Then on Monday, a few more tweets went out, including a pinned tweet taking credit for having hacked my account. While it was up only briefly, it included a racial slur. On MLK Day, no less.

Then, slowly, all of my tweets began disappearing as the hacker “wiped” my account – deleting all my old content – while I could do nothing.

The account was briefly locked. Then it wouldn’t load.

Why? Because I wrote about cinnamon rolls?

Frantic, I filed ticket after ticket with Twitter, but was told that the email address I was writing from was never associated with my Twitter account (it was). The hacker had changed my contact info, my profile picture, my name, and had deleted every single tweet I’d ever written, and Twitter was telling me that because I wasn’t emailing them from the right address, there wasn’t anything they could do.

I watched as an account that I’d had for nearly a decade was systematically dismantled in front of me as I hit the refresh button.

 

Twitter is by far my largest social network – it’s where I’m most active and have the most followers. For writers, it serves a very specific purpose: it is directly tied to our livelihoods. When I was shopping my first book around, every single publisher I met with wanted to know what my Twitter following was. This isn’t simply vanity or a trivial marker of fame – this is my goddamn career. Twitter is how I let people know when I’ve written something new; it’s how I promote speaking events, book readings, and how I yell at airlines.

It is extremely important.

Unable to scream on that website, I screamed on Facebook, forgetting how amazing and connected and wonderful my friends are.

They jumped in from every corner of the internet, expressing their outrage. I received messages of support via every single medium I still had access to. I had people who rarely use Twitter logging in just to report that my account had been hacked. I had friends reaching out to their contacts at Twitter, trying to rectify the situation. I am still absolutely overwhelmed by the people who spent time and energy helping me.

I can’t begin to name all of the people who spent time on rectifying this. But a partial list: Sara, Kara, Courtney, Naomi, Shauna, Peter, Charlotte, Shauna, Marika, Chrissy, Zac, Pam, Jen, Andrea, Will, and basically everyone I know: thank you.

And of course Rand, who assured me that everything would turn out okay in the end.

I am a Luddite. I don’t know how to work the internet without my friends. I barely know how to work my blender without my friends.

Late Monday night, thanks to their (and your) efforts, I regained access to my account. Twitter has retrieved my lost tweets. My friend Marc used a piece of software he built to find everyone who I’d previously followed and then wrote a script that re-followed them again. And yes, the tweet that Lin-Manuel Miranda sent me is still there. I still don’t have all of my favorites, but I’ve been told that Twitter will get those back, eventually.

I went and looked the in DMs the hacker sent while he had control of my account. Here’s a screenshot that was included in one of the DMs – it’s from a forum in which they sell off Twitter accounts (as well as Instagram accounts). I’ve omitted their names because I don’t know if giving them credit is a good thing or not.

He was asking a friend of his – who is still active on Twitter – how to change the handle, and trying to sell off the account. This made me think that all of this was tangentially related to the post – my account got hacked not because of what I’d written but because it was getting a lot of attention.

But then I received this message from the hacker, who has since been kicked off Twitter:

 

Since the Twitter hacking, numerous hacking attempts have been made on the blog. It’s been relentless, and as a result, the blog is running slower than normal. It no longer seems like these are just opportunists trying to sell an account. It seems like a concerted attack.

BECAUSE I WROTE A POST ABOUT CINNAMON ROLLS.

This morning, my site was down again, and I panicked. But it wasn’t because of hackers. It was because of this:

MARTHA STEWART READ MY ARTICLE AND TWEETED ABOUT IT AND GAVE MY BLOG THE HUG OF DEATH.

 

I’m starting to realize that’s just how it is. Lows follow highs which follow lows. As a woman, your work can’t garner positive attention – particularly about an issue that matters – without garnering negative attention. For every thousand people who tell you how much they relate to what you’ve said, someone will scream something terrible and hateful at you.

You just have to have faith that the good drowns out the bad. And if the good voices aren’t loud enough? Then you just say it to yourself.

Over and over again.


 

P.S. – My friend Zac wrote a great piece about how to protect yourself from hacks, identity theft, and the like. You should read it.

 

P.P.S. – Blog traffic is crazy high, and we’re putting in some security measures, so load time is slower than normal right now. We’re working on it.


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Comment

  • inexplicasam

    Your cinnamon rolls post rocked. I’ve been reading this blog for years, and it’s always one of the highlights of my reading week. I thought this was a good point to say thank you.

  • Miu

    I felt it wasn’t appropriate to tell you on the last post with the cinnamon roles (which is a masterpiece in my opinion), but I received your book for Christmas and I hope I can continue supporting you in the future 🙂 I didn’t notice any slower loading, by the way.

  • Hope Smitherman

    Dang, you’ve been through the internet wringer here lately. Thank goodness for web-intelligent friends. I’m glad all’s back on the right track now. Congrats on the Martha mention, despite it being a hug of death. Ha!

  • labradog

    Hi! I’m a new reader who is here because of cinnamon rolls, *and* those assholes fcking with your account. Following you on Twitter, too!
    Maybe this will be the most unintuitive way to drive up your traffic!

  • Kim Cotton Laird

    Count me among the positives. I shared your cinnamon roll post with my daughter and my coolest friends. I just started following you in my feed reader, and now I’m off to buy your book.

  • I just want to say “thank you” for being you. We need more yous in this world.

  • jonathanwthomas

    So sorry this happened. I was appalled to see your treatment by Twitter – they moved awfully slow in dealing with a problem with a VERIFIED account. If that doesn’t get you extra help, then what’s the bloody point? I was really sad they deleted all your tweets – your tweets are your writing and it’s a treasure, so glad they were restored.

  • Steve

    You continue to be a bright beacon of hilarious (and often hilariously bitter) hope. THANK YOU.

  • FromUndertheCouch

    In the words of Barry Manilow – Looks like we (meaning you) made it!!

  • I don’t comment here often enough (especially since I ready every post without fail), so today in particular I just want to make sure you get one more resounding I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE AWESOME, PLEASE BE MY PERSONAL LESLIE KNOPE from the wilds of the internet. You will know this already based on the (positive) attention from the Cinnamon Roll Debacle, but you seriously are basically the (much funnier, much more eloquent) voice of a whole hell of a lot of us who are flailing around in despair and disbelief at the current state of affairs. Thank you for being able to say what my mind cannot verbalize, doing it so damn well, and taking all the subsequent abuse from the garbage people of the world as a result. I hope comments like this can help be tiny little shields to help deflect the garbage people abuse, at least mentally/emotionally… I will be very little help against DDOS and hacking attacks. But I send you my love and my support and my admiration and my Leslie Knope fangirling. <3

    • Saraswati

      watch update film in Singularity only on this site : CINEMASONYPICTURES.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • elephantsoap

    I found you through the cinnamon roll post and I am so glad I did. Since then, I’ve added you to my links list of favorite people I like to read, but in my heart, I’ve also added you to my list of people I’d want to invite to a dinner party. If I were the type to throw a dinner party.

  • Suzannah Kolbeck

    Tough problem to have (she said, snidely, snarkily, and in utter jealousy). I will have to keep an eye on the three people who read my blog. My mom is acting mighty suspicious… 🙂

    • Violetts

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  • WaywardDaughter

    Another reader who found you via the cinnamon rolls and immediately added you to my feed reader. Just want to say you’re amazing.

  • Erica

    So sorry this happened to you but wait… Lauren Graham read your book?!? That is what dreams are made of.

  • Rando Calrissian

    I just want to add to the voices of “you are awesome” in hopes of drowning out the negative voices. Your post was everywhere on all of my feeds – even by people who are NEVER on Facebook, they all wanted to share it. I’m glad you’ve recovered your Twitter, and I hope that something horrible but somewhat reasonable (I don’t want to wish a death on anyone, so perhaps just a gentle push by a bus instead of totally run over by it) happens to your hacker.

    • Claresta

      Let’s look at the channel online for example Logan Lucky : cinemanetflix1.blogspot.com

  • I’m sorry you had to go through all that. It truly sucks that there are so many jerks on the internet. But please know that I absolutely love and appreciate everything you do here, and I’m so happy to be able to read your stuff.

  • Your courage inspires me always. You say what I feel but am afraid to. So sorry you were hacked and so glad you are back!

  • emilie c

    I loved your cinnamon roll post, I’ve told everyone I know that they need to read it. I’m so sorry/sad/angry that it led to these attacks, so I’m adding my voice to the good side – your writing is amazing, and meaningful, and powerful. Keep it up!

  • Patty Jensen

    I just discovered you!! I LOVE YOU!! OMG! I laughed out loud so many times. Instead of the Sunday paper today, I will be going back to read the posts I’ve missed. What a treasure.

    • Elisa

      Let’s look at the channel online for example Lucky : putlockertv4k.blogspot.com

  • Jill

    Here’s some love, you beautiful musk ox. <3 You inspire me every day!
    P.S. I'm not a huge fan of Twitter or social media in general. I guess there goes my dream of a writing career? Sad face.

    • Lambreta

      Watch The Shape of Water only on this web site : putlockerlive4k.blogspot.com

  • Anne Thomas

    I have sadly never commented here, to tell you how wonderful and smart and amazing you are. But I have shared your stuff often. After everything you’ve been through I would like to add my voice to the chorus of accolades to you as a writer and all around incredible blogger. Please keep it coming!!! XOXOXOXOX

    • Andreani

      Watch here Wonder online link below : putlockertime4k.blogspot.com

    • Vanessa Angels

      Watch Jungle only on this web site : peliculaslive4k.blogspot.com

  • Kara Kreider

    I want to add my voice to the positive side and cheer you on, Geraldine! You know that when the assholes come after you, you’re doing something important! #dismantlethepatriarchy

    And, in the spirit of Parks & Rec, you’ve been through a lot–don’t forget to treat yo’ self!

  • Louise Ruggeri

    Throwing some positive your way – found you via the now famous/infamous CINNAMON ROLLS post, and so very glad I did! Can’t wait to read your book, and to dig into your blog one night soon. YOU ROCK! 🙂

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