Russians hack Facebook personality quizzes

Russians hack Facebook personality quizzes

Attack matches FB users with crappy background characters

It’s a widely known fact that Facebook sells users’ personal information to corporations. These analytics determine the advertisements you view and shape your spending habits. However, big business isn’t the only force manipulating your Facebook feed.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently released a statement admitting that the Russian government had hacked the popular social media site, but not to gain information about the United States population. Instead, they targeted personality quizzes centred around the theme, “What pop culture character are you?”

The attack was first noticed after quiz results were reported as being inaccurate and consistent across all users. All results stated that users embodied characters that were considered pathetic or the butt of the joke and who played comparably small roles. One notable example comes from the quiz “Which character from The Office are you?”

Every quiz taker received Toby, the human resources employee and divorcee that many major characters show disdain towards.

The description read: “You are a small side character in the eyes of your peers. You contribute little to no value to the community and you are not very well liked. Your society is weak and does not have the strength to compete with Mother Russia.”

Studies of Facebook users have shown that after taking these quizzes, overall happiness and trust in the Western way of life plummets.

Web security expert and geopolitical commentator Cam Guthrie says there are two possible reasons for the attack on Facebook users.

Guthrie explains that Putin may be trying to make American Facebook citizens distrustful of their government through these tests. The widely inaccurate results may build skepticism in citizens, destabilizing the government and  plunging the United States into chaos.

An alternative theory is that Russians are trying to diminish the ego of the American people by fostering insecurities in civilians, so that if Russia ever invaded the United States, citizens would have no motivation to fight back.

Russian ambassador to Canada Alexander Darchiev responded to Facebook’s announcement by saying, “Maybe it is time to face facts. Maybe you are not Simbas or Mufasas. Maybe you are a nation of tiny Zazus.”

The Contrarion spoke to one Facebook user who took these quizzes. When taking the Parks and Recreation quiz, Justin Major received Jerry/Gary/Larry, the silent family man who has no drive and is actively tormented by his co-workers.

“I was devastated when I got the result,” said Major. “At first I didn’t believe it. I got very angry that I had spent all this time doing a quiz that wasn’t even right. Then I started to think about it. I got so sad. What if the quiz was correct? I started to reflect on my life a little bit more after that. I started to think that maybe democracy isn’t the best form of government after all. We need a strong, charismatic leader who can teach the cranes of America to fly.”

Photo Edited by Alora Griffiths/The Ontarion

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