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[personal profile] tim
A comrade on Twitter has written up the result of spending a year observing 4chan and 8chan fascists use their message boards to organize to get grassroots support for Tr*mp. It's a fascinating document and you should read it.

Most good liberals have spent years studiously ignoring 4chan. To read it would be feeding the trolls, even if only with your attention, even if you never post anything. And there's nothing more shameful than feeding the trolls, unless it's reading the comments, right?

The authoritarian right noticed that and exploited it. If you want to organize a coup, what better way to do it than using a messageboard that all of its political opponents ignore because they believe it's "just trolling"?

So that was thing #1. The second thing, which was maybe even more genius, was that the authoritarian right noticed that 4chan users are nihilists who care mainly about approval from their peers, as Kathy Sierra pointed out deftly. As [twitter.com profile] whisperkick characterized 4chan "mostly it was a pissing contest of who could be The Most Shocking™."

If you've found a group of disaffected young people who care about nothing other than who could be The Most Shocking, what a stroke of luck! Being a Nazi is shocking, so you can easily co-opt that group into being Nazis for the lulz. Of course, it's just for the lulz, and they're not really Nazis. Right?

We weren't sure about that for a while, anyway, but now we're sure. I don't know or care what amount of Nazi sentiment was already present on 4chan and similar forums before the coordinated far-right takeover. Anti-semitic memes got introduced into those forums somehow, and someone with more patience than me will have to write the intellectual history. I don't care whether someone did that on purpose or folks there hated Jews from the start. The point, which all fascists know, is that those memes take on a life of their own.

If you want to know how Tr*mp won the electoral college: 4chan did it for the lulz.

Gamergate, by the way, was a test run for this. I'm not the first person to point that out and I hope I won't be the last.
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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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