Kiichiro Sato / AP
TikTok activists fight Texas’ new restrictive abortion law with spam.
Sean Black, who goes by @ black_madness21 on TikTok, has created a bot that makes it easy to submit false advice to a “whistleblower” website created by anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life.
As of Wednesday, it’s now illegal for anyone in Texas to have an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, and anyone who helps someone get an abortion – including doctors and even someone who drives someone to a clinic. – could be sued for thousands of dollars. The Pro Life Whistle Blower website allows residents to report people for potential violations of the law.
Black explained in his original video that he got the idea after another user, @victoriahammett, suggested flooding the site with bogus advice. He took the idea a step further and created a bot to submit a bogus report every 10 seconds or so. His IP address was eventually banned, but that was only after he managed to submit around 300 reports, he explained in a report. later video.
Undeterred, he created an iOS shortcut that anyone can use to auto-complete fake reports, which even use local zip codes for authenticity.
“Because it uses realistic information, it is more difficult for them to analyze the data,” Black explains in his video.
Still, Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communications for Texas Right to Life, said United States today that those who try to crash the site have failed. Her organization “has completely anticipated this and prepared for all the trolls coming to the website,” she said.
While the whistleblower site has since demanded to fill out a captcha before submitting advice, Black assured Vice motherboard that he is currently working to overcome this “obstacle”.
This is one of the most recent examples of how activists have used TikTok and other platforms to sabotage or support various causes; k-pop fans are particularly known for their online political activism.