Dating website BeautifulPeople.com (exclusively for “good-looking people”) issued a press release claiming it was hacked.
It said a virus, dubbed the “Shrek Virus,” broke down the website’s exclusivity.
Normally, when people apply to join, they are only approved when existing members vote them to be beautiful enough to belong to the website.
However, over a six-week period, thousands of people, “many of whom were no oil painting,” suddenly became members. This raised the suspicious of the website owners, who then uncovered the “Shrek Virus.”
In response, BeautifulPeople.com submitted the new members to the voting process and 30,000 of them were voted off.
We have sincere regret for the unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and who believed, albeit for a short while, that they were beautiful. It must be a bitter pill to swallow, but better to have had a slice of heaven then never to have tasted it at all,” said Greg Hodge, managing director of the website.
Graham Cluley of Sophos, a cyber security firm, thinks the whole thing is a hoax.
Cluley doesn’t have any evidence to back up his claim. Nevertheless, he does raise a few red flags.
He said it’s too convenient that the website didn’t need any outside computer security help to get rid of the virus. It’s also convenient that the virus “never breached” members’ privacy and security.
Cluley also pointed out that BeautifulPeople.com has a history of running publicity stunts. Last Christmas, it ran a campaign to expel “festive fatties,” or those who gained weight during the holiday season. Over 5,000 “fatties” were stripped of their BeautifulPeople.com memberships.
The stunt won the website an excellence award from the CIPR in 2010.
The CIPR reported “festive fatties” was covered by CNN, Daily Mail, New York Post, USA Today, and Fox News.
Today, the “Shrek Virus” story has been covered by the Guardian, New York Daily News, BBC, and MSNBC.
BeautifulPeople.com didn’t immediately respond to IBTimes' request for comments.