Fake Facebook screenshots aren’t hard at all

A few weeks ago an article about political staffers and faked Facebook posts appeared the The Age.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Matthew Guy may ask police to investigate a series of Facebook posts purporting to be one of his staffers making highly racist and sexist comments about senior Liberals.

In a bizarre twist to the state government’s recent social media woes, several Facebook screen grabs claiming to come from one of Mr Guy’s employees have been distributed, with offensive references to Asians as “slopes”, Arabs as “towel-heads” and Arts Minister Heidi Victoria as a “dumb blonde.”

A spokesman for Mr Guy, who is also the state’s planning minister, insisted the statements were fabricated, and the Minister’s office is now considering whether to refer them to police on the grounds of fraud and defamation.

But the fact they were distributed in the first place – and the considerable effort it would have taken to get them looking like genuine Facebook material – paints a worrying sign of the battles now being waged in politics using social media.

The “considerable effort” line is the part that caught my eye, as creating a fake Facebook page is incredibly easy once you know what you are doing – such as this example I created years ago.

Fake Facebook page for diesel locomotive T378

In the ‘old’ days of the internet creating fake web pages required one to take a screenshot of a source web page, find a font that matches the original, and then add your own text in using Photoshop.

Today you don’t need to go to anywhere near as much effort – just open up the ‘Developer Tools’ panel of your web browser (my example is Google Chrome), find the text you want to change, and then type in your new slanderous text.

Fake Facebook page for the Victorian Greens

I can’t imagine the Greens ever supporting an expansion of brown coal mining in Victoria, but just look at what their Facebook page says!

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