Rochester Technology

Dissecting a #fail: 7 questions about Lovely Warren’s “Stay In Your Own Lane.”

It seems a prominent politician’s Facebook account has been hacked, leading to an embarrassing series of screenshots going public. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Lovely Warren is in hot water, again. This time for allegedly sending out a scathing FU message to someone on Facebook – none of the reports are saying to whom the message was sent. The official response? Oh, man:

The mayor’s office says that there are several people who have access to Warren’s official and personal accounts, and she is working to see where the message in question came from.

Here is the portion of the conversation attributed to Lovely Warren’s account:

A portion of the conversation which has been attributed to Lovely Warren's account.
A portion of the conversation which has been attributed to Lovely Warren’s account.

She has since shut down both her personal and official accounts “until further notice.” So, let’s ask a few basic forensic questions.

7 Questions for Lovely Warren

  1. According to the screenshot, this appears to be a Private Message on Facebook. To whom was this message addressed?
  2. Let’s not assume anything. Do we even know that the offending message was sent from Lovely Warren’s account? Just because the Mayor’s Office says it is so? All that I see is a “chat head” with Warren’s picture on it?
  3. If indeed it was sent from a Lovely Warren account, from which account was this sent? Her personal account or the Fan Page?
  4. If it was her personal account, Facebook keeps a record of every IP address and login, including the “user agent,” or the software being used to access the account. Has this been checked? Or not?
  5. If it was her Fan Page, these types of accounts are not allowed to message someone directly unless they’ve been written a message by that fan first. Most Fan Page admins disable messaging primarily for this reason. Why was this option not disabled on Lovely Warren’s Fan Page?
  6. Fan Pages can also have multiple editors: any number of people can use the Page and post messages. Facebook has a good breakdown of which user roles can do what, and not all of them can send messages. Are all her editors administrators?
  7. Every editor’s activity can be logged, since they’re separate user accounts. Was none of this done with the Lovely Warren Fan Page? Was everybody just logging in as Warren to access her public page?

I could prattle on about the security aspects of this. Unsecured accounts and all that. Update: There are also legal questions, which I address here. How many more and how many mission critical accounts are sharing passwords? But really, this is just dumb, dumb, dumb social media flub for which the Mayor’s Office and Lovely Warren herself need some organized answers, soon.

Media Politics

I Love a Good Dick Joke

Anybody who reads my stuff or follows me on Twitter is well aware: I love a good dick joke. And with a Congressman named Weiner having gotten himself embroiled in a sex scandal by showing off his wiener, well, even a cursory inspection of my online activity would suffice to say that I’m well above my normal quota for the week. Its a good thing.

Something I’ve learned over the years is a strength: I am funny. And based on my click-through rates here and on Twitter, it seems clear that other people agree. I’m seen as a funny person and a political person. An intelligent person, I hope.

So when stuff like this hits, I am in the somewhat unique position to be able to discuss the flavour of the day (ew…) without being stifled by an arbitrary sense of professionalism, FCC regulations, some boss breathing down my back, or even basic decorum. I can just be funny. Its one of those things that makes blogging a genuinely important part of an honest dialog, in my opinion.

But if I’m being funny, am I acting with any less decorum than the supposedly professional media industry? I really don’t think so. Hide behind your dedication to “The Story” all you like – hide behind your vaunted career all you like – but I would submit that juvenile dumpster-diving, masquerading as serious business for serious publications, is probably a lot more harmful to our collective consciousness than a few dick jokes. People laugh at me, but your work ends up in campaign commercials as though it meant something.

For example, lets be clear: if you’re engaged in a sexual conversation the contents of which are perfectly OK to share with the group without fear of offending someone’s delicate sensibilities? You, sir or madame, are doing it wrong.

There’s no reason to have ever thought that the contents of Anthony Weiner’s sexual tweets would have done anything other than offended a lot of people. In fact, they’re supposed to. Why are we so surprised? Lets hope our own conversations are not so pure as to pass that test. What boring-ass Quaker will be the first to offer up a transcript?

I am genuinely confused as to how this new information changes anything about “The Story.”

Yes, yes, yes. The gagging thing. Let me explain: ladies, you have no idea the sheer magnitude of our phallus in our own fantasies. Of course you would gag on it. How could you not? You also fail to appreciate our utterly irresistible sexual presence in our fantasies. Of course, you’re not doing anything you don’t really, really want to: that’s the fantasy! In fact, if we can get a few extra “really”s in there, so much the better.

And speaking of fantasies and masquerades, there is this article. Typically, the phrase “full disclosure” means, “I’m about to tell you something that might seem biased and less legitimate if you found out later about this other thing…” In the case of this article, it means, “You should be paying more attention to this article and giving it more credence because of what I’m about to tell you, while attempting to sound reasonable.” Ah! Le journalisme!

The author, upon “disclosing” that she’d dated Weiner for an unspecified length of time, engages in precisely the same dumpster diving every other journalist covering the story has. The only difference is: because she knows him, she’s allowed to pull the trigger no one else can, and call him a misogynist. That’s handy!

And already, we begin seeing the articles where journalists wring their hands and question how they could have gone so far astray. Because sadism without a little masochism is like coke without cigarettes. How could they – They! The bearers of truth and justice in the world! – How could they not fight against their baser instincts? Oh, the shame. Oh, the humiliation. Oh, the patent leather thong….

Well, I don’t claim to share any of the Congressman’s tastes or deny them either – I have my own and you have yours. What I will say is that the reason he did what he did is the same reason I write dick jokes and why you read them and why the journalists covering the story insist on digging up every petty detail: because he enjoyed it.

We love this stuff. Sex is good, sex goofy as all hell, and its worth talking about. Every topic is not a moral issue. Beware the person who thinks it is. If you do have to find some moral in the story, maybe its worth asking who should be more ashamed: the person who enjoys what they enjoy or the person so pent-up about their own habits that they have to make a serious business out of smearing someone else’s?

Besides: “Weiner.” #Amirite?