The Facebook account for the state of Minnesota’s primary tourism agency was hacked at the start of the business day Monday, with a slew of “fake news” postings that ranged from a woman training squirrels to harass her ex-boyfriend to a death row inmate eating an entire Bible as his last meal.
By Monday afternoon, the hacker had been stopped and the posts were removed, the agency said.
The run of phony stories populated the Explore Minnesota tourism page starting about 8 a.m., and the news of the weird flowed until late afternoon, said agency spokeswoman Alyssa Hayes.
Later in the day, Hayes released a statement that said Facebook and Explore Minnesota identified the hacker and removed the person’s access to the Explore Minnesota page.
Hayes had urged anyone who visited the Facebook page not to click any of the fake postings “to avoid potentially getting hacked” as well. The page has more than 221,000 followers.
She said Explore Minnesota’s other social media channels — Twitter, Instagram and its website — operated normally.
The website associated with each fake posting was newsprovidr.com, whose creative minds clearly lean toward fiction.
Along with the ex-boyfriend-harassing squirrel saga and the dining habits from death row, other postings touted: “Detroit woman gives birth to her 14th child from 14 different fathers,” “Bermuda triangle: Ship reappears 90 years after going missing” and “DNA tests prove retired postman has over 1,300 illegitimate children.”