On GitHub, a website for sharing and collaborating on software code, another programmer, Jonathan Díaz, released a script and posted a link on Thursday to a new app, Pro-Life Buster, which allowed people to automatically spam the Texas website with “bogus tips.” The developer wrote that the script was a way to push back against the law because it was “no one’s business to know about people’s abortions.”
By Thursday evening, the app showed that 1,000 new reports had been shared.
Mr. Díaz said the app existed to flood the site with authentic-looking, but fabricated, data. “The goal is to waste these people’s time and resources so that they wake up and realize this effort is not worth their time,” he said Friday.
These techniques, known as “hacktivism,” have become increasingly prevalent. Last year, TikTok teens and fans of Korean pop music inundated a rally websitewith fake registrations — and then never showed up, leaving thousands of seats conspicuously empty. Anonymous, the loose hacking collective, has protested policies from the Vatican, the C.I.A. and others by flooding their websites with junk traffic to try to force them offline.
Kim Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, denied that the group’s website had been overwhelmed with false reports. “We knew this would happen, and we were prepared,” she said. “Activists have been trying to spam and take down the site for a week and failed.”
Understand the Texas Abortion Law
Even so, the group’s website appeared to periodically buckle on Thursday and drop under the load of reports, according to screenshots posted to Reddit and other sites. Separately late Friday, a judge in Travis County, Texas, granted aagainst Texas Right to Life, blocking it from suing Planned Parenthood and enforcing the abortion restrictions.
To stem the flood of automated reports to its website, Texas Right to Life’s administrators have added a new version of a Captcha, a program that tries to filter real human responses from automated computer reports.
But some hacktivists persisted. One posted a screenshot on Reddit of a fake report that pointed to some of Marvel’s Avengers as abortion seekers. On Twitter, people posted screenshots of other fake tips. One user sarcastically reported that he wanted to retroactively abort his 30-year-old son who apparently wouldn’t leave the house.