*** warning: very graphic language and subject matter ahead ***
Actually, if you think about it, this doesn’t sound like a funny joke at all. Let’s keep reading though, I’m dying to hear the punchline.
Wait, what? Who has a virus? And where are my pants?
What in the world is going on? Someone up there has lost their mind and I think they might be a danger to themselves and to others. We should call the police and report that pant-less person immediately. I should report these conversations and posts right away.
And when the police come, they will see that every one of those conversations originated at the IP address for each person and that they weren’t PhotoShopped. That makes them genuine, right? Right?
I know, because I doctored those pics and I don’t have PhotoShop.
Every one of those pictures up there is a fake and it took me about two minutes to alter them, with no special program on my computer and no special skills. See:
Want to know how I did it? Of course you do.
You can edit entire conversations line by line by repeating these steps above. Hover your mouse over the next line of conversation and right click, select “Inspect element,” right click on the thick blue line at the bottom, etc.
Dates and times can even be changed by doing the same thing; hover your mouse over the date, right click, and edit the date text just as you would the conversation text. Did you even notice the last date in this picture?
This trick works for anything on Facebook, including comments left on a public page:
While doing this, you can even delete elements in the post. Look at the original post here on the left again. Notice the attachment? When I doctored the post, I highlighted that element and simply deleted it.
You can even alter original posts on someone’s wall:
Sick! No, I mean that’s what she had really written on her wall:
You can also do this if you search in a conversation for a word. As you may know, Facebook will highlight that word in yellow and keep that area of the conversation highlighted. This doesn’t affect your ability to alter any part of the conversation, which in turn makes it look very legitimate:
Someone should call PETA! Except that I don’t own a dog:
You can even change the names and pictures in a conversation. Note the original conversation here:
Suppose I want to change the name and picture of the person I’ve been chatting with, to make it look like those messages came from someone else. It’s very similar to how you change text and other elements, but this is a copy and paste job instead:
Presto, you’ve just put someone else’s picture into the conversation. Follow those steps for the name, and:
Remember that everything you see on your computer screen is produced by a line of code. Your text, the other elements in a chat box, and your picture are all stored on servers. A line of code tells it to display those things on your screen. If you alter the line of code, you change what you see on your screen.
Now here’s the kicker. This change to the HTML does not affect anything that the other person sees on their computer and is not permanent. The minute you click away from a page, it resets back to the code stored in Facebook. However, it does stay there long enough for you to take a screen capture and freak out your friends.
Or, blackmail someone.
ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA BLACKMAIL
Social media blackmail or cyberbullying refers to using social media outlets to blackmail someone. A person might face the threat of real conversations or pictures being shared, or be threatened with fake screen captures like the ones above.
Pretending to be someone you’re not online is also so common that it’s called “catfishing.” You create a profile with someone else’s picture and name and talk to others, pretending to be that person. Once you have a conversation you want to use for blackmailing, you can then make screen captures. See more about this practice at Urban Dictionary.
The blackmail can be in any form, including harassment, i.e., “Have sex with me or I’ll show your parents this fake conversation about you being secretly arrested,” or threats, such as, “Give up the custody fight or I’ll send this conversation about you beating our child to Protective Services…”
While it can be nearly impossible to tell what’s real and what’s fake, one thing people can do when faced with potentially damning evidence against someone else is consider a few other factors. To illustrate this, I’m going to use a recent incident within the ex-JW community, where screen captures were posted supposedly showing one of our members, Bo Juel, being in a sexual situation with a 12-year-old girl and sharing what some imply to be child pornography online. Since there is no police report to reference and nothing more than fragmented Facebook conversations, let’s look at some other factors that have since come to light in the past few weeks. You can apply these tips to any potential case of social media blackmail.
The Trustworthiness of the Source
When looking at potential social media blackmail, or when listening to any type of accusation or gossip against someone, first consider the trustworthiness of the source. In this case, we’re talking about Beth Shan.
Beth says that she is an inactive Jehovah’s Witness and because of that, she needs to hide her real identity online. I can respect that; if a person’s JW family finds out that you’re critical of the religion this can result in excommunication and severe shunning. From what I can gather, Beth says that she was “outed” to her JW family by a group called Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA), for whom she volunteered.
However, in picking apart Beth’s story, we see that she openly admits she purposely aggravated and provoked Julia Douglas, an admin on several AAWA Facebook pages. Why she would do this remains unclear; no one I’ve asked can give me an explanation for that.
I’ve been told that Beth claims that Julia “outed” her real name publicly and to her JW family, but have also been told that this is not true; Julia published that name to a closed Facebook group of 8 or 9 admins, and someone else sent a screen capture of the post to Beth. What Julia did was indiscreet, but it was meant to stay confidential among those people and certainly not the same as outing someone publicly or to their family.
Beth says she never got an apology from AAWA, but I was told that Julia wrote a letter of apology and this was delivered to Beth by a neutral third party. Beth also apparently says that Julia got her real name and address by accessing the application she filled out for AAWA, but I’ve been told that Beth didn’t use her real name on her application; she provided that information to Julia herself through Facebook.
Beth also apparently doctored a post made by a couple, Mike and Kim; they had made a very sweet comment about their concern for someone who was virtually suicidal over this entire mess, and I’m told that Beth altered the post to say that it was her family that was suicidal. Other posts were doctored and fabricated, showing Mike and Kim using profanity and vulgarity.
This post was also made by Beth, where she says that AAWA is planning another “outing.” Except, this post here, about outing someone, was not done by an AAWA member; this was posted by the same Julia Douglas, after she had resigned from AAWA, and was referencing the fact that Beth shared her personal info with Julia via Facebook, not her AAWA application. Richard Kelly’s comment was in regard to lawsuits, not an “outing,” and the last person quoted here is not an AAWA member. So, you see how comments are taken completely out of context and are used to support an outright fabrication.
Not only could these incidents be considered untruths from Beth, but it shows that doctoring Facebook posts are not beyond her abilities, and not something she wouldn’t do. This calls into question anything and everything she posts on Facebook, including screen captures of posts made by other people.
I get it; what Julia did was frightening to anyone in the ex-JW community who remains anonymous, but again, we can pick apart this story and see how it puts Beth’s credibility in question overall.
One of Bo Juel’s other detractors, the man who sent me the original screen captures in the first place, is also a bit shaky in the credibility department as you can see from this capture of some conversations we’ve had:
So three times in two days he sings the praises of rum, then a month later claims he doesn’t drink. It may seem like a small lie, but it’s still a direct lie. When I called him out on it, I got the following response:
So what do you people think? Is “I don’t drink” the same as “I don’t get drunk”? Is “I don’t sleep with strangers” the same as “I’m a virgin”? Not in my mind. To me, this again calls into question the credibility of those behind these accusations.
Another questionable statement online was made by one of the accusers, Kandi Partida, where she said that Facebook had verified the conversations as being real. How exactly did this happen? Whom did you contact? Facebook does not randomly confirm a conversation for anyone other than law enforcement and, again, we have no police report in hand, much less news of any actual investigation. It’s a highly suspicious statement at best, especially when the statement was followed with a tart, “That’s all I’m going to say about that.” Well, no. If you’re going to accuse a man of pedophilia and make claims about its verification, you should have lots more to say about it.
Look for Patterns
One last thought as to credibility; it came to my attention that another ex-JW activist, whom I’ll just call “D”, had doctored photos sent to his home that supposedly showed him in a sexual situation with… stop me if this sounds familiar… an underage girl. Fortunately “D” was able to prove unequivocally that the photo was doctored, but I personally am seeing a strong pattern of deceit from some source somewhere, and deceit that is not above accusing someone of pedophilia.
Ask Other Questions
The credibility of the source of an accusation is one thing to consider, but you might ask other questions when considering cases of what might be social media blackmail. For example, one of these supposed conversations with Bo, with a woman named Luci, in September of 2013, but Luci claims she reported them to the FBI in or around August or September of 2014, and continued to converse with Bo online that entire time. She also says she’s very concerned about the safety of children, and that’s why she’s been so vocal about the incident in the last month.
If that were the case, why would Luci sit on what she is claiming is child pornography or confessions of sexual situations with a child for an entire year, and still converse with the man? Why would you then advertise that supposed conversation and those pictures on Facebook so that, if he did have child porn on his computer, he could then dump his motherboard in a vat of acid or toss his computer over a bridge? Sure, the police could maybe trace an IP address for a conversation, but this doesn’t prove who was using the computer at the time. The only way I could see law enforcement arresting anyone is if they actually found child pornography on a computer, and advertising this supposed case on Facebook just shot that all to hell.
When you truly think someone is guilty of something and want the police to investigate, you don’t call that person and tell them, “Hey you know that marijuana plant you have growing in your bedroom? Yeah, I reported it to the cops and they’ll probably be there tomorrow at 7. But whatever you do, don’t flush the evidence because I really want you to be arrested for being a danger to society.”
I also find it a bit odd that the screen captures only had a fragment of a conversation so that we have no idea what really happened, if they were real in the first place. We can’t see any more of these conversations to think for ourselves, but need to take the word of someone else, if they’re real at all. This is something to seriously think about when considering if something is mere social media blackmail; is someone providing you with a full text of a conversation and all the information they’ve seen, or just fragments of things that could be taken out of context? Are they controlling the information you’re provided so they can control your decision as to guilt or innocence? And you’re okay with someone having that much control over you?
If someone presents a screen capture of something to you and there is no known reason to “burn” that person, you might think it could be legitimate. However, it’s good to question if there is motivation to hurt him or her. As said above, another ex-JW activist, “D”, went through this type of attack and blackmail already. We know that Bo has had threatening letters sent to his house; he made a video of this several months back.
WT apologists are not above going on Facebook pages and slandering others or using any dirty trick possible to quiet their opposition. You’re talking about a multi-billion dollar publishing company who exists only because of their stranglehold of power over their members, and who outright instruct elders to lie in court if it suits them. Members of this religion are also prepared to die for their beliefs, and look forward to the day when everyone who isn’t a JW will suffer a horrible, fiery death by the hand of their god. I wouldn’t put a little social media blackmail past them.
It has also come to my attention that Luci had posted a crowd funding request, asking for donations to help her with rent and travel; she asked Bo to post the link on his Facebook page, and he refused, while also curtailing his conversations with her. Within weeks, she was calling him a pedophile.
This too is something to consider when it comes to motivation. Have they asked a person for money or favors and have they been refused? That is always a good reason for an exaggerated revenge response. Note, too, Luci was asking strangers for $8500! That’s more money than many people have in their savings accounts after working for years. In my humble opinion, this speaks volumes as to her abilities for rational thinking, or lack of them.
As for other motivation, let me just say this; as a woman, I’ve known a number of other women who do nothing but trash talk men they like. We women are ruthless and exhausting and will twist words, exaggerate, and outright lie to burn a man that we feel has rejected us (“Hell hath no fury…”) or to get the attention and validation we aren’t getting elsewhere. I’m speaking in general terms of course; I’m sure that has nothing to do with this story.
One thing that a person can consider when it comes to potential social media blackmail that involves sexual behavior is any hypocrisy of those making accusations. I personally cannot and will not question another adult’s choices when it comes to their sexual expressions, even if they have habits I would never indulge myself. Someone who does that might as well go back to being a JW and demand that all sex be missionary position with the wife and the lights out. I will, however, call someone out on hypocrisy.
In the past few weeks, some have found it entertaining to post private pics apparently shared by Bo, as if to make fun of him and as if to prove something about his moral character. However, one of Bo’s accusers, a woman named Kandi, shared a photo of her obscene naked self, unsolicited, with other ex-JW men on Facebook, and it was forwarded to me by one of those men. Bo also kindly (you fucking bastard I will never forgive you for doing this) sent me the naked pics Kandi had sent to him. Let’s just say I still have the dry heaves, so thanks for that. Why are we making fun of Bo or acting like private sexual expressions between two consenting adults mean something bad or immoral, and especially when his accusers are doing the same thing online?
One man on Facebook also had this to say before shutting down his page, “People have stood up and been called liars and instead of supporting the VICTIMS you SICK!!!!!!!! so called CHRISTANS support the guy who at the very LEAST turned this place into his own playground of sexual desires when he should have been helping victims not hurting for his own warped twisted bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Well, he’s right. Bo’s detractor above, the drunk who claims he doesn’t drink, who many see as a leader in the ex-JW movement and who does work with victims directly, has been known to express his own sexual desires freely with others online, including me:
Please don’t follow the literotica link in the first capture; it’s a very graphic, explicit, “You call me master while I call you my slutty little whore, now shove this vibrator up your vagina and don’t take it out until I tell you, even at this restaurant” type of story. I’m blacking out my part of the conversation in the second screen capture to protect this man’s identity. Note, I have no problem with someone sharing dirty talk with me online; I’m an adult and as I said, I even write dirty stories myself, but it’s what this man shared and what he fantasizes about that is very questionable.
Getting back to the topic of potential social media blackmail, it calls into question the supposed concerns over sexual behavior when someone makes fun of another person for things they themselves do, or accuses them of being sexually aggressive when they obviously have some very aggressive sexual proclivities of their own.
SO, IN CONCLUSION…
I’m sure that it doesn’t matter what is said or done here or elsewhere; people will make up their minds about guilt or innocence no matter what they see or don’t see, and that’s fine. Some will do that before any actual investigation takes place as we’ve seen in this case, without even thinking about how a police report means nothing. It’s the result of an investigation that should be important. I can fill out a police report accusing my neighbor of vandalizing my car; what happens when it turns out he was out of town that day?
For online chats, finding out if they’re real or fabricated or if someone has been catfished, and seeing an entire conversation and not just a line or two, are all very important before deciding guilt, I would think. For supposed cases of child porn, it would also be up to law enforcement to determine if anyone in a particular photo is actually underage; I know a 22-year-old that gets mistaken for being 15 or 16 all the time.
So, with that thought in mind, let me know what the police find out, not a bunch of catty, unhinged women on social media. I’ll be sitting here, waiting, but in the meantime I do appreciate this opportunity to talk about this very difficult and ugly aspect of victimization. Maybe if more people are educated about how easy it is to do this to someone, fewer people will believe everything they see and hear online, and at least one good thing will come out of this entire mess, no matter the punchline.
This column is written with respect and much gratitude to the ancestors. Osiquu. It is well.