Kerala Cyber Warriors, a group of anonymous, self-proclaimed hackers often takes down social media accounts and pages promoting inappropriate content. A few months ago, they had made the news for taking down 59 Malayalam Facebook pages displaying revenge porn, and some even had pictures of young children.
However, there is a difference between inappropriate content posted without the subjects’ consent and content posted by someone informed and of their own volition. And according to a woman’s post on Facebook, a man who claims to be part of the Kerala Cyber Warriors seems to be erring when it comes to making the distinction.
Through a Facebook post and a set of screenshots posted on Sunday, a user who goes by the name of Isha Ishika said that she was approached by a schoolmate who claimed to be a part of Kerala Cyber Warriors. This man messaged her on Facebook messenger after she had posted a picture of sanitary pads in different colours, with the caption “colourful pads”.
What follows is a conversation where the man proceeds to give some preachy advice to Ishika about what she should and shouldn't be posting. And Ishika has the best response to it all - thanks, but no thanks!
To start with, the man sent links to Ishika about KCW’s work, many of which were about the hackers’ group “saving” India from Pakistan and girls from their ex-boyfriends. He then offered to “save” Ishika, referring to some posts she had written about menstruation and sex in the past year.
“He claimed that my posts will lead other women to danger,” Ishika writes. He also allegedly asked her if she had sent her photos to her boyfriend. According to the screenshots posted by her, which do not reveal the name of the person who claimed to be a part of KCW, the man said he was acting in Ishika’s interest.
“Did you see the report that has come for your post on sanitary pads? Your photo is also there on your Facebook, still can’t you think once before posting such content? About what kind of society this is?” he questions her.
Not one to give up, the man proceeds to send a link which appears to be hacked. He says, “Here they have given the photo and profile link of a girl who thinks like you. There are thousands of such instances. I didn’t want such things to happen to you and so gave advice,” he tells her.
In another screenshot, the man can be seen questioning what Ishika has to gain by “making her thoughts public” and how she was only “gaining bad reputation” by writing such posts. “Consider this as an advice from an elder brother to his sister. Just think about the consequences of putting up such posts,” he tells Ishika.
Things appear to be getting creepier when this man asks her if someone called “Kumar Mohan” has messaged her. When Ishika replies in affirmative, this man tells her that Kumar is another hacker.
At one point, he even tells Ishika to give him access to her profile for 10 minutes so that he can delete the posts he finds problematic. “If you are not interested, then its fine. Just make sure you delete it fast. It’s better for you if you delete it soon,” he adds.
In her post, Ishika makes a snarky reference to KCW's recent post about making people who exchanged explicit photos do 'charity' by feeding the poor. She says, "They also make the romeos do charity by asking them to feed the hungry and post a photo. I wonder whether the destitute will let them take a photo of their meal! What if there are no poor people left? What will they do then?"
Ultimately, Ishika, like many of us, finds the man's "concern" about her menstruation posts rather absurd. "Oh, I have never laughed so much in my life! Respected KCW , thank you so much for your services. But no, thank you. Get out house right now," she says.
The Kerala Cyber Warriors, however, said that the man did not represent the group, and was just one among thousands of people that were part of their network.
Incidentally however, KCW had recently put up a Facebook status asking women not to send their explicit photos to their boyfriends or spouses. Much like the man above, this post seems to have an elder brotherly tone to it. It begins, “Sister, we have something to tell you.”
“While you are running around fighting for freedom, we have something to tell you. We know that you do not like to hear advice, but listen to us. We are not against you talking to anyone, or being in a relationship. But at times, you tend to cross all the limits. (sic),” it continues.
And then, the post admonishes women choosing to send their photos, saying, “When you send him your nude photos or videos, you are not only betraying yourself, but your parents and siblings too. You are causing embarassment to them and forcing them to take the path of suicide,” the post reads.
Another woman, Inji Pennu, a journalist with Global Voices Online, posted on Facebook lambasting KCW on Monday. Naming a supposed hacker, she says that the rest like him are “fools”. “In the name of hacking, they are operating fb groups and sites to trap girls. You will pay for your deeds,” she writes.
Another woman posted a message against KCW, responding to Ishika’s post.
KCW has not responded to these allegations so far.