Bogus impressions of a Minnesota college website are making the social media rounds. The school’s tech wizards say they have figured out how it was done, but they doubt they can track down who did it.
Parodies of the “Student Life” and “About” pages for Minnesota State University, Mankato were shared in recent days on Facebook, Twitter and possibly elsewhere, university spokesman Daniel Benson said Tuesday. They tout the school as a place for revelry and give the impression that the college’s website has been hacked.
“I heard about it yesterday. It kept circulating and circulating,” Benson said. “The Minnesota State University, Mankato website has definitely not been hacked.”
The concocted pages touted the school as being “where tireless students binge drink and consume drugs in frightening quantities” and where “you could do it all on campus: drink, smoke, [expletive] and yak.”
There also were criticisms about the learning environment, post-graduation job prospects and “cramped, hot housing.”
The university has had a reputation as a party school, and underage drinking in downtown Mankato has been a long-running concern for city and school officials.
In an e-mail to Benson, the school’s IT staff explained that a “clever person” crafted the hoax on a Web browser, and “once their little trick is done, they do a screen grab of the ‘hacked’ page and post it to Twitter as if it were visible to others — which it is not.”
He said the school has felt no tangible effect from the hoax, but “we’ll definitely monitor.”
For now, he said, the university has “decided to not post a tweet or message to counter the false information that our website has been hacked, as that may cause more unnecessary attention, and it may instigate more ideas by people to do something like this. We are open to re-evaluating that, however.”