herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Spammers target Facebook tribute page for Lenihan

A FACEBOOK page set up for the public to support Brian Lenihan in his battle with cancer has been hijacked by get-rich-quick spammers.

More than 10,000 people signed up to the tribute page earlier this year after the Finance Minister revealed he was fighting the disease.

But now the site has been clogged with messages from companies claiming to offer quick ways of earning money.

The American-based businesses are using the page to alert people to ways of allegedly earning thousands of dollars by working from home. It has prompted a strong reaction from other internet users.

The page was started to allow people to passively "send well wishes to Brian Lenihan".

"It doesn't matter who you vote for, nobody wants their son, father, brother or husband to go through this and in such a public way," it said, referring to the minister's cancer.

The moderators also asked that users avoid health/ treatment speculation and negativity.

That plea was widely respected until recent weeks when weeks when spammers began targeting the page.

A number of posters have tried to lure Irish users on to websites that purport to offer quick ways of making thousands of euro.

One such poster claims to have been broke 18 months ago after a business failure but that everything changed after signing up to a make-money website. The spammers have also included a variety of web links to sites based in the United States.

In reply, one supporter of Mr Lenihan wrote: "Please remove all the rubbish asap."



GRATEFUL

Another said: "Administrators. Please get rid of all the inappropriate content on this site."

Mr Lenihan is aware of the page's existence and has previously visited it to view the messages of goodwill. Shortly after he went public with details about his treatment last January, his son Tom wrote on the page that the family were extremely grateful for the support. "I showed my dad the page. Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes we appreciate it," he wrote.

A large portion of the contributors made it very clear that they had little support for Fianna Fail but admired the minister's courage. Even though it is now 10 months since the Mr Lenihan's diagnosis, well-wishers are still using the page.

In his most recent statement relating to his health, Mr Lenihan revealed that the cancer has stabilised but is still present.

"It has improved but like all cancers it's still there and it's a danger. But it's not an immediate danger to me," he said.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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