Police have been called after a South Auckland real estate agency's Facebook page was hacked by someone who inserted the words "No Indians, no Māoris, no n******" into a rental advertisement.
The advertisement, offering a house for rent at $530 a week, drew outraged comments when it was posted last night in the South Auckland Buy and Sell Facebook group, which has 32,000 members.
"How rude," one person commented.
The property manager, whom the Herald has decided not to name, was depicted as having replied: "We don't want people who can't pay rent on time."
Told that "not all of them are like that", the response was: "99% of them are. We prefer white people as tenants".
• Mum's 'genius' medicine hack goes viral on Facebook
• Mum's $12 Kmart ironing hack goes viral
• Facebook says hackers accessed personal data from 29 million accounts
• 'Disgusting' hack to clean washing machine blows minds
The real estate agency's principal said the property manager's Facebook account was hacked and she had not made any of the comments that appeared to have been made in her name.
"We have reported it to police and Netsafe last night," he said.
"We are pretty disappointed that someone has done this. Anyone with half a brain would look at the ad and say, 'If you look at that sort of comment on Facebook, it's just very poor taste'.
"It's a case of most people have looked at it and said it's a fake thing."
Inspector Dave Glossop, Counties Manukau south area commander confirmed they had "received a report from a member of the public relating to their social media account being hacked, resulting in offensive comments being posted on their online profile".
"The person has subsequently reported receiving numerous online threats as a result of the comments made, which is causing them considerable distress.
"Police are following up this matter with the individual concerned and we also want to warn the public that making online threats could be considered a criminal offence which may result in prosecution."
The real estate company also posted about the incident on Facebook.
"It has been bought to our attention earlier today that a fake property advertisement post has been messaged to several groups through Facebook.
"It would seem that someone has created a bogus Facebook page for one of our employees... and they have used this as a means to send this post. We do not condone such behaviour in our office or of our employees nor do we subscribe to any type or form of racism that was in the wording of the post.
"We sincerely apologise to anyone that may have been offended by this and we would appreciate everyone's understanding as we try and get to the bottom of this."
The post was inundated with comments in support of the agent.
One wrote: "I've been commenting on the posts I've seen going around in defence of [the agent] as she is my agent, so I know first hand she is far from anything like this! It's such a damaging thing not only professionally but personally as well. Wishing you all the best."
Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said complaints about hacked Facebook accounts were "a daily thing".
"It's very common for Facebook accounts to be hacked. They are usually hacked by someone guessing a password."
He said hacking could be virtually eliminated if people set up two-factor authentication on their Facebook settings, which could be set to trigger a call to a cellphone if an external party accessed an account.
"Nobody who has two-factor authentication set up gets hacked unless it's their partner who has hacked their account," he said.
Anyone who accesses any computer system "dishonestly or by deception", intending to gain any advantage to themselves or cause any loss to any other person, can be jailed for up to five years under the Crimes Act.
"There have certainly been prosecutions for illegal access to computer systems in New Zealand, but I'm not sure specifically about Facebook accounts," Cocker said.
The property manager said the matter was in the hands of the police and she had nothing further to add.