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Sen. McCain's MySpace page commandeered for a 'prank'

Co-founder of online news site claims responsibility for 'statement' on gay marriage

By Heather Havenstein
March 27, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Visitors to Sen. John McCain's MySpace page  were likely surprised today by a statement that the senator has reversed his position on gay marriage and "come out in full support of gay marriage … particularly marriage between passionate females." Most won't be surprised that the statement was apparently posted as a prank.

The co-founder of an online news site, who said he designed the MySpace template used for McCain's page, claimed responsibility for changing the site. Mike Davidson, co-founder of Newsvine, said on his Web site that he commandeered the MySpace page because McCain's office used a design template of his without providing him credit. Davidson also said his imagery was used on the page and his server is used to serve up McCain's MySpace images.

The altered page was on MySpace from about noon to 1 p.m. EDT.

Arizona Sen. JohnMcCain's MySpace Web site
Arizona Sen. JohnMcCain's MySpace Web site was hacked with the addition of an "announcement" beneath his picture. This screen shot was taken this morning; the site has been corrected. (Click image for larger view)

"I think the idea of politicians setting up MySpace pages and pretending to actually use them is a bit disingenuous, so I figured it was time to play a little prank," Davidson noted on the Newsvine site.

Because McCain's office was using Davidson's template he was able to replace a sample image - being used by McCain's page - with the one with the statement on gay marriage.

"So, the only thing necessary to effectively commandeer McCain's page with my own messaging was to simply replace my own sample image on my server with a newly created sample on my server," Davidson noted. "No server but my own was touched and no laws were broken. The immaculate hack."

Davidson said in an interview that many people use his template without crediting him and that he was more peeved about McCain’s office pulling images from his server. “Every time somebody loads his MySpace page it costs me bandwidth,” he said. “This was not something that I wanted to do to be malicious. It was more let’s play a little joke on him. I am not anti-McCain. I wish him the best in 2008.”

A spokesperson for McCain's campaign said that the organization still was trying to figure out what had happened.

"I don't know all the details yet," the spokesperson said.


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