“The point is to provide ammunition against Black people for policymakers so they can point to things that are being said, allegedly from a Black person’s account, to reinforce the idea that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist threat and put them on equal footing as white nationalists in terms of content moderation,” Brandi Collins-Dexter, a fellow at online racial justice nonprofit Color of Change, told NBC News.
These digital manipulation campaigns are nothing new, sadly. During the 2016 election, Russia’s Internet Research Agency utilized a “troll farm,” to create memes aimed at Black voters to depress the turnout for then-Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to American intelligence agencies. Collins-Dexter referenced a more recent campaign by members of the internet cesspool that is 4Chan.
In April, users on 4Chan posed a Black people who had received their stimulus check and bragged about using them on alcohol in “an effort to perpetuate the ‘Welfare Queen’ myth,” Collins-Dexter told NBC News. On Wednesday, one of the most viral tweets from @WentDemtoRep was posted as a copypasta to 4Chan multiple times.