On GitHub, a website to share and collaborate on software code, another programmer, Jonathan Diaz, posted a script and on Thursday posted a link to a new app, Pro-Life Buster, that allowed people send spam to the Texas website automatically with tips. “The developer wrote that the script was a way to go back against the law because” it was nobody’s business to know about people’s abortions. “
On Thursday evening, the app showed that 1,000 new reports had been shared.
Diaz said the app existed to flood the site with authentic-looking but fabricated data. “The goal is to waste the time and resources of these people to wake up and realize that this effort is not worth it,” he said Friday.
These techniques, known as “hacktivism,” have become increasingly common. Last year, TikTok teens and fans of Korean pop music flooded a rally website for former President Donald J. Trump with false records, and then never showed up, leaving thousands of seats obviously empty. Anonymous, the hacking collective, has protested against the policies of the Vatican, the CIA and others by flooding their websites with junk traffic to try to force them offline.
Kim Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, denied that the group’s website had been overwhelmed by false reports. “We knew this was going to happen and we were ready,” he said. “Activists have been trying to send spam and demolish the site for a week and have failed.”
Still, the group’s website appeared to be periodically extended on Thursday and fell under the load of reports, according to screenshots posted on Reddit and other sites.
To curb the avalanche of automated reporting on their website, Texas Right to Life administrators have added a new version of a Captcha, a program that attempts to filter out real human responses from automated computer reporting.
But some hacktivists persisted. One posted a screenshot on Reddit of a fake report pointing to some of Marvel’s avengers as abortion seekers. On Twitter, people posted screenshots of other fake tips. One user sarcastically reported that he wanted to retroactively abort his 30-year-old son who apparently would not leave home.