A photo on Facebook promising refugees free mobile phones unleashed a storm of hatred on social media. But all was not as it seemed, and some anti-refugee users might have received some food for thought.
Racist, xenophobic, hate-filled remarks on social media are a disgusting by-product of the public debate on the refugee situation in Germany.
Now, an unknown hacker in Germany has tricked some of the notorious agitators.
A Facebook user calling him or herself "Micha Gerlach" posted a photo of vouchers for free mobile phones for refugees plus SIM cards worth 200 euros ($220). Official-looking, the alleged vouchers showed the logo of the social welfare office in the eastern German city of Chemnitz. The indignant user's comment: "Do they just get everything shoved up their ass by the state for free?"
The post was shared many dozens of times on Facebook and on blogs run by supporters of Pegida, a German "anti-Islamization" movement. Their remarks were considerably harsher and more racist than "Gerlach's" original post.
Blinded by envy
The sham post quickly turned out to be a Trojan, however - aptly named a honeypot, which is a mechanism consisting of data that only looks like it's a legitimate part of a site, but is monitored.
In this case, users sharing the post suddenly saw themselves confronted with a photo blaring the words "I'm an empty-headed Nazi." Underneath appeared the statement: "I spread inflammatory material on the Internet and share every piece of muck without verifying it first."
Reaction to Clausnitz mob
"Micha Gerlach" wrote that the anti-refugee protests in Clausnitz "called for a response" - such as his/her Facebook post aimed at "these idiots."
Last week, about 100 people shouting "We are the people" harassed refugees emerging from a bus in the Saxony town.
"Gerlach," who uses the logo of the hacker group "Anonymous," criticized the fact that every little thing seemed to be shared on social media without a further thought. "Let that be a lesson to you, you idiots and racists," the hacker wrote.
The person apparently only opened the account for the one campaign.