Hate speech targeting the LGBTQ+ community was posted to the official Metro Los Angeles Facebook page on Thursday, which the organization blames on a hack.
The Metro Los Angeles account on X, formerly known as Twitter, posted clarification at 12:35 p.m. Thursday stating that their Facebook page was “recently hacked” and that they “don’t have the ability to remove it.”
As of Friday morning, the post could no longer be seen on Facebook, despite Metro’s claim that they were unable to access the account.
An official statement emailed to Annenberg Media confirmed that Metro’s official Facebook page was hacked. “There was an anti-LGBTQ+ post made on Metro’s page, which was not authored by nor condoned by Metro,” said the email.
The hack comes after California’s Attorney General Bonta issued the inaugural “State of Pride’' report in June, which recorded a 29% increase in hate crimes towards the LGBTQ+ community in 2022. Although California is considered to be one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly states, with over 200 pieces of legislation being introduced that “aimed to codify discrimination”, the report indicates that LGBTQ+ children were bullied at a rate four times higher than non-LGBTQ+ children.
USC freshman Catherine Chen said, “It’s a rude awakening, I guess, to the reality of the world that we’re living in… it’s very necessary that we’re also aware that homophobia exists everywhere and it’s prominent no matter where, what country, what city.”
Graduate student Alessandra Viegas added, “I take the Metro to get to class. Not only is it upsetting, but it’s also scary that something like that can happen so easily.”
Chen, who is worried that the post will trigger more anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech said, “You know that a bunch of people are going to use this as an opportunity to jump on it and further push their own hatred, which makes being queer just scary in general.”
In the email to Annenberg Media, Metro also stated that it takes this security breach very seriously and took immediate steps to regain control of the page, through Meta’s regular channels (many of which are automated).
The agency said, “Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts to reach a Meta contact person, we have not yet been able to speak with a live person to regain control of Metro’s Facebook page.” Metro also expressed that they have “implemented additional security measures” to their other social media accounts to prevent another possible hack.