Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

TikTokers flood pro-life website with fake reports, Shrek memes and porn to protest Texas’s abortion law

A ‘hacktivist’ created a Python script that pro-choice supporters have been using to flood the site

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 03 September 2021 13:13 BST
File: Pro-life and anti-abortion advocates demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington
File: Pro-life and anti-abortion advocates demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington (Associated Press)

Bogus reports, Shrek memes and porn have become the instruments of a coordinated attack for pro-choice social media users to thwart a Texas pro-life whistleblower website that has been soliciting information on people seeking abortions.

Pro-choice TikTokers and Reddit users have been bombarding a digital tip-line made by anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life, after the state passed an extreme law restricting access to abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and fining those found to have done so.

The Texas Right to Life website reads: “Any Texan can bring a lawsuit against an abortionist or someone aiding and abetting an abortion after six weeks.” And “those proved to be violating the law can be fined a minimum of $10,000.”

The Guardian reported that even though the website was launched a month ago, TikTokers and Reddit users started sending false reports to them only when the bill was enacted by the state.

In fact, one TikTok user said he submitted 742 fake reports claiming the state’s governor Greg Abbott got illegal abortions. Encouraging others to crash the website, he said: “It would be a shame if TikTok crashed the ProLifeWhistleBlower website.”

Another user said: “Wouldn’t it be so awful if we sent in a bunch of fake tips and crashed the site? Like, Greg Abbott’s b**t stinks.”

Several others sent Shrek memes to the website and others claimed to have sent porn.

Two methods to fill the website with bogus tips were created by a “hacktivist” who goes by the name Sean Black.

Mr Black, whose handle on TikTok is @black_madness21, created a Python script and an iOS shortcut for users to send multiple reports in a day. He calls himself a “regular college student from North Carolina.”

The script uploaded about 300 entries before the site blocked his IP address, Mr Black said in a TikTok video.

He said: “But then I started thinking, ‘What if I made this a bit easier for everybody.’” So he created “iOS shortcut users of Apple devices can download that automatically fills in the site’s form,” he said. It picks a random Texas city, county and zip code and fills in and submits the form.

On Twitter, thousands welcomed Mr Black’s contribution. “Gotta love the kid,” said one user.

The website, however, has since seemingly removed the field that pro-choice users have been using to attach and upload media files.

Nancy Cárdenas Peña, a director for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice in Texas, said she was blocked by the Texas Right to Life group after she tweeted about it.

On Thursday, US president Joe Biden lashed out at the Supreme Court’s decision to not block the law. He also directed federal agencies to do what they can to “insulate women and providers” from the impact.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in