A series of silly hacker hoaxes have been rocketing around the Interwebs in recent weeks, duping many users as they travel.
These hoax messages warn you not to accept a friend request from a particular person because the person is a hacker. Supposedly, if you do accept the friend request, the hacker can take control of your computer.
A recent version of the hoax, which named one ‘Jaden K. Smith’ as the supposed hacker, went viral, inundating social media feeds the world over and causing considerable concern. After the furore had died down, a series of jokes and memes that riffed on the hacker hoaxes began circulating.
One of these little memes has caused a good deal of confusion. A number of people have contacted me to ask about it. The message warns you not to accept a request from Lizzie Borden because you will get hacked. For those who know who Lizzie Borden is, the joke is immediately obvious, if a little macabre. But, apparently, there are a lot of people who don’t recognise the name, Lizzie Borden and therefore don’t get the joke.
Lizzie Borden was a young American woman who was accused of killing her father and stepmother with an axe in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. That is, she was accused of hacking them to death, hence the ‘hacked’ joke. Lizzie Borden was later acquitted, but the grisly murders and the ongoing controversy that surrounded them resonated with the general public and the case became famous, not only in the United States but around the world.
In fact, I remember a poem about the case from my own childhood in Australia:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.