If like me, you were dicking around on Facebook late Wednesday night, you might have found this jarring message spammed all over your newsfeed: “F_ck you faggot. Go kill yourself. Vote for Nicole Santos. I hate you and the only way to remove all these posts is by disabling this below”
Clicking “remove this app” let the worm access your account and spammed your friends with the same message. Facebook quickly fixed the bug that the worm exploited, and by late Thursday morning the Nicole Santos Worm was dead. But not before hundreds of thousands of people were left wondering “Who the heck is Nicole Santos?” It was a clever little worm.
The Nicole Santos worm turned into the Nicole Santos meme: “Nicole Santos” trended on Twitter for hours Thursday morning. The Facebook page “F_CK Nicole Santos” quickly gathered over 23,000 likes, an Etsy user is selling half a dozen varieties of “Vote for Nicole Santos T-shirts and a YouTuber produced a Nicole Santos parody rap song in astonishingly short order, which now has over 10,000 views.
The potency of the meme sprung from the webs need to know, Who is Nicole Santos? Just a Name? or is she a real person. Thousands of “Nicole Santos” are on the Internet. Which one was our girl? Did she even exist, or was she just the whim of the hacker who invented the worm? The veracity and venomosity of the heckles was outstanding, complete strangers asking for Nicole Santos’ head on a stick?
A nasty portrait of Nicole Santos began to emerge as blogs and newspapers picked up the story: In the internet’s imagination, Nicole Santos was a young woman running for something. Speculation dithered from prom queen, to class president, to Miss Brazil USA. Had she hijacked Facebook as a campaign tool? Roping unconnected Facebook users into her quest for global domination?
Nobody thinks about things for more than a few seconds on the Interweb, but even that is enough time to realize that no one would think spamming thousands of people with “go kill yourself” is a good way to win support. Nicole Santos wasn’t the perpetrator: She was the hack’s biggest victim.
Turns out Nicole Santos does exist. She’s a high school student in Northern California running for vice president of her class. We spoke to one of her friends who said at around 11pm Wednesday night he noticed the “fuck you faggot” message posted to dozens of his friends’ accounts. He called Nicole who was “really surprised” by what was happening. “Nicole Santos was NOT involved with the hack,” he said. In fact he started a whole Facebook page to explain the fact.
It’s unclear how Nicole became associated with the “Nicole Santos” worm. Another friend says Nicole suspects the hacker somehow came across her vice presidential campaign poster on her Tumblr blog and decided to put it in his virus. They then targeted Facebook users at Nicole’s high school, and a few hours later it had spread all over the world.
The “Nicole Santos” hacker’s identity remains a mystery, but it’s probably someone who has no stake in the real Nicole’s life. Online rumors put the hacker in both Wisconsin and Boston. They say he was a dumb script kiddie ripping-off of an expert hacker’s Facebook worm.
We hope that all this has had some positive effect on Nicole, hope that she got voted in, though we suspect with all the hoolabaloo she may actually win Class President rather than the secondary position she was seeking. Fact is that there has been a real impact on the real Nicole’s life, even if most people hating on her are just mad at some sideways version of “Nicole Santos”.
“She is still in shock,” said one friend. Nicole had to delete her Facebook profile after she was flooded with friend requests, hate mail and death threats. Her school is buzzing about the classmate who “went viral,” according to Tumblr posts from students.
At time of publication, Nicole has indeed lived through the storm and is bathing in the notoriety, thankfully it seems her little world has a large smile on it.