The provincial NDP party says someone hacked the Twitter account of one of their candidates, using the account to follow a slew controversial accounts that included a neo-Nazi group.
NDP candidate Becky Kent was back on the campaign trail in Eastern Passage Tuesday after the unusual activity on her account.
“Very upset, very disgusted with the action,” she said.
The party said someone hacked into Kent’s account and then had her follow anti-abortionists, anti-Islamic groups, and neo-Nazi supporters.
Kent said she has no idea who would have hacked her account. Though, gaining access to someone’s Twitter account isn’t that difficult, especially when an easily-guessed password is the only thing keeping mischief-makers out.
Elizabeth Dubois, of the Dalhousie University social media lab, said tampering with an account can create distractions during an election but whether it's effective in harming a candidate is questionable.
“I think most of the people who are tuned into the political Twittersphere are pretty aware of the fact that accounts sometimes get hacked, that the internet is not a secure place entirely and I think the kind of media literacy that’s been developing over the years really puts people in a position to judge for themselves,” she said.
Dubois said hacking can start up different conversations that can either benefit or harm the candidate. The key is how they deal with it.
Kent is choosing to move on.
“We took care of it, we changed passwords and dealt with it and now we want to get back to business — which is out talking to our constituents,” she said.
Kent's team unfollowed the neo-Nazi group and the other controversial Twitter users, though not before one of them — a U.S. anti-gay group — blasted her for following them.
The group questioned why she was interested in their group when clearly she supports people in the LGBT community.