BBC News reports:
An online petition calling for a second EU referendum has been hijacked by automated bots adding false signatures.
Posts on the 4chan message board indicated that some users had scripted programs to automatically sign the petition.
Thousands of signatures appeared to have come from people in Vatican City and Antarctica.
The House of Commons petitions committee said it had removed 77,000 signatures and was investigating.
The problem is that the UK government petitions site isn’t doing enough to weed out fake participants.
Every time you sign a petition on the site, you are asked for an email address and have to click on a link in a message sent to that email address to prove you are a “real” human rather than an automated script.
Of course, it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to write an automated script that gives the petition site a throwaway email address and then – seconds later – automatically “click” on the link sent to that address.
The site may wish to invest in some better CAPTCHA technology to make it a little more difficult for the mischief-makers of 4Chan to flood the petition with bogus signatures.
Of course, 77,000 bogus signatures is a tiny proportion of the 3.7 million who have so far signed that particular petition.