The unruly tourists who have been the centre of a social media storm over the last month are not finished with New Zealanders yet.
Members of the Facebook group Gypsy Scammers in NZ have been repeatedly targeted in what appears to be a carefully orchestrated reporting campaign.
The group was started in the wake of the first reports about the family, where they trashed a Takapuna beach before hurling abuse and threats at witnesses.
Membership grew quickly, with numbers exceeding 1,000 in the first week. The current membership stands at nearly 5,000.
The reporting began not long after the group was founded, however in the last two weeks it has intensified, with multiple members being sent to Facebook jail and having comments and posts removed.
Facebook uses a mix of algorithms and moderators to review reported content.
While the algorithms have been known for some time to be unreliable and obscure, questions are being raised as to how so many comments and posts are being removed.
New group causing problems at Facebook offices
The Stuffed Herald has a contact who works for Facebook, and he has spoken to us on the condition of anonymity.
“Facebook employs people around the world to review reported content.” He said.
“A couple of weeks ago, a new group started in one of our offices. They have been causing problems ever since, but nothing has been done about them yet.”
Our contact has described the new group as being loud, messy and intimidating.
“They totally dominate the room.” He told our Herald.
“No one wants to approach them, they can be very scary and have threatened to knock our brains out.”
The new group has strong Irish-sounding accents and seem to have a particular fondness for Red Bull.
“We have a drink machine that is usually topped up once a week. They emptied it of Red Bull on their first day.”
Since then, our contact claims they bring in “bagfuls” of the energy drink every day.
“They never pick up any of their rubbish. Their workstations are always in a mess. I feel sorry for the cleaners.”
Food and poo
The Stuffed Herald managed to reach out to one of the cleaners in the office, who described what her team deals with.
“They are disgusting. Pigs wouldn’t live like this.” She said.
“Food is left everywhere. On the desks, on the floor. There was something that looked like sauce on the wall behind one of the workstations. How it got there, I don’t know.”
The cleaner also described a faint smell of faeces, although they were unable to pinpoint the source.
“It is there, but we can’t find it. Just a hint of poo, but we could not see any physical evidence. We think it must be on a chair or the carpet, rubbed in or something. But we aren’t paid enough to go round smelling furniture.”
Arrival coincides with reporting spree
The arrival of the new group closely matches the point at which the reporting began to intensify.
“They spend a lot of time laughing, saying things like ‘we got you, you kunt’ and ‘another one! Fucking keewee twats!’.” Our contact said.
“Whatever content they’re reviewing, they seem to get a real kick out of removing it and putting blocks on accounts.”
Post at your own risk
He confirmed that two trigger words are ‘pikey’ and ‘gypsy’ as well as many spelling variations of these.
Our Herald asked our contact if he had any advice for members of the group who are being targeted.
He suggested the following:
- Avoid using the trigger words, or common spelling variations including inserting full stops or writing backwards. Use symbols or numbers in place of letters.
- Don’t use names as people targeting members can create fake accounts under the commonly used names and then report the comment for harassment. Try describing the individual instead.
- If sharing public profile content, cover or edit the image so it is less likely to trigger the review system.
- Post at your own risk. Even obscure words or sentences may trigger the review system. Be cryptic!
Our contact, in his final statement, expressed his support for the Gypsy scammers group and its members.
“Keep up the good work. They cause trouble everywhere they go and pop up all over the place. You just need to outsmart them.”