On Tuesday, the official Facebook page of the Hopedale Police Department in Massachusetts was compromised, resulting in the dissemination of derogatory and transphobic content. The department took immediate action to regain control of its account after discovering the offensive post.
Unauthorized Posting: The Hopedale Police Department has confirmed that its Facebook account was compromised, leading to the unauthorized dissemination of offensive material.
Inaccurate and Offensive Content: Late in the evening on Tuesday, an individual who remains unidentified posted a fabricated message on the Hopedale Police Department’s Facebook page, claiming that a transgender woman had been shot 40 times by one of their officers. The department regained access to its account on Thursday and promptly removed the post.
Community Apology: Police Chief Mark Giovanella released a statement expressing his sincere apologies to all those affected by the offensive message. Chief Giovanella acknowledged that the post not only attacked an individual’s political views but also contained hateful speech towards the LGBTQIA+ community, reflecting poorly on the Hopedale police organization.
Swift Removal Efforts: Once the department was made aware of the post, immediate action was taken to eliminate it. Unfortunately, the Facebook page administrator was locked out and unable to delete the offensive content.
External Breach: Further investigation revealed that the incident was the result of an external breach, as an unknown hacker had gained control of the Hopedale Police Department’s Facebook account, effectively removing authorized staff members.
Falseness of the Post: Chief Giovanella assured the community that the scenario described in the fabricated post is entirely false and would never occur. He emphasized that Hopedale officers undergo annual training in de-escalation and receive education on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Investigation and Future Security Measures: The department is currently conducting an investigation to determine how the hacker gained control of their Facebook page. Additionally, they plan to implement enhanced security measures to prevent similar breaches on their social media platforms going forward.