Antifa hoaxes


This is a section on hoaxes about "antifa" from the current version of the Wikipedia article on American antifa. I am pasting it here as the article talk page suggests the section will be edited as it is excessively detailed, which it probably is. 

Conspiracy theories about antifa that tend to inaccurately portray antifa as a single organization with leaders and secret sources of funding have been spread by right-wing activists, media organizations and politicians,[191][192] including Trump administration officials[50][68][193][194] and the 2020 Trump campaign.[195]

In August 2017, a #PunchWhiteWomen photo hoax campaign spread by fake antifa Twitter accounts.[196][197] Bellingcat researcher Eliot Higgins discovered an image of British actress Anna Friel portraying a battered woman in a 2007 Women's Aid anti-domestic violence campaign that had been re-purposed using fake antifa Twitter accounts organized by way of 4chan. The image is captioned "53% of white women voted for Trump, 53% of white women should look like this" and includes an antifa flag. Another image featuring an injured woman is captioned "She chose to be a Nazi. Choices have consequences" and includes the hashtag #PunchANazi. Higgins remarked to the BBC that "[t]his was a transparent and quite pathetic attempt, but I wouldn't be surprised if white nationalist groups try to mount more sophisticated attacks in the future".[41] A similar fake image circulated on social media after the Unite the Right rally in 2017. The doctored image, actually from a 2009 riot in Athens, was altered to make it look like someone wearing an antifa symbol attacking a policeman with a flag.[198] After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, similar hoaxes falsely claimed that the shooter was an antifa "member"; another such hoax involved a fake antifa Twitter account praising the shooting.[199][200] Another high-profile fake antifa account was banned from Twitter after it posted with a geotag originating in Russia.[42] Those fake antifa accounts have been repeatedly reported on as real by right-leaning media outlets.[40][44]

During the nationwide George Floyd protests against police brutality and racism in May and June 2020, false claims of impending antifa activity circulated through social media platforms, causing alarm in at least 41 towns and cities.[201] On May 31, 2020, @ANTIFA_US, a newly created Twitter account, attempted to incite violence relating to the protests. The next day, after determining that it was linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, Twitter suspended the fake account.[202] An FBI's Washington Field Office report stated that members of a far-right group on social media had "called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents, use automatic weapons against protesters" during the D.C.-area protests over Floyd's murder on May 31, 2020.[165] Conservative news organizations, pro-Trump individuals using social media, and impostor social media accounts propagated false rumors that antifa groups were traveling to small cities, suburbs, and rural communities to instigate unrest during the protests.[203] In May and June 2020, Lara Logan repeatedly promoted hoaxes as part of Fox News' coverage of antifa, including publishing a false document she described as an antifa battle plan and claiming that a joke about juggalos was evidence of a clandestine antifa hierarchy.[204] In an appearance on Fox News's The Ingraham Angle in June 2020, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed that "Antifa" as well as "Black Lives Matter" and unspecified communists were working together to "do away with our system of courts" and "take your property away and give it to other people", asserting without evidence that they receive significant funding from an outside source. Giuliani had previously criticized George Soros, who has been a frequent target of conspiracy theories, claiming he funded such groups and demonstrations.[205]

In June 2020, a multiracial family on a camping trip in Forks, Washington, were accused of being antifa activists, harassed and trapped in their campsite when trees were felled to block the road.[206][207][208] In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, groups of armed right-wing vigilantes occupied streets in response to false rumors that antifa activists were planning to travel to the city while similar rumors led to threats being made against activists planning peaceful protests in Sonora, California.[209] In Klamath Falls, Oregon, hundreds of people, most of whom were armed, assembled in response to false rumors that antifa activists would target the city, spread by a commander in the Oregon Air National Guard.[173] In an August 2020 interview, Trump spread a similar conspiracy theory, claiming that "thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that" had boarded a plane to Washington, D.C. to disrupt the 2020 Republican National Convention.[170] Also in August 2020, a fake antifa website began to redirect users to the Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign website. Although this has been described as "clearly a ploy to associate the Democratic Party with antifa", those on the right seized upon it.[68] A study by Zignal Labs found that unsubstantiated claims of antifa involvement were one of three dominant themes in misinformation and conspiracy theories around the protests, alongside claims that Floyd's death had been faked and claims of involvement by George Soros.[192] Some of the opposition to antifa activism has also been artificial in nature. Nafeesa Syeed of Bloomberg News reported that "[t]he most-tweeted link in the Russian-linked network followed by the researchers was a petition to declare Antifa a terrorist group".[210]

As wildfires raged on the West Coast in September 2020, rumors spread on social media that antifa was deliberately setting fires and preparing to loot property that was being evacuated, which local police departments debunked. Some residents refused to evacuate based on the rumors, choosing to defend their homes from the alleged invasions. Authorities pleaded with residents to ignore the false rumors.[211][212][213][214] A firefighters union in Washington state, also debunking these rumors, described Facebook as "an absolute cesspool of misinformation" on the topic.[215] Prominent promoters of the unfounded rumors included adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory.[215] One false claim that six antifa activists had been arrested for setting fires was specifically amplified by "Q", i.e. "the anonymous person or people behind QAnon".[216] QAnon had for months been organizing "digital soldiers" on social media and internet message boards to wage information warfare to influence the 2020 United States elections.[217]

Source: Wikipedia contributors. (2020, October 25). Antifa (United States). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:50, October 27, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Antifa_(United_States)&oldid=985326641

Footnotes:

  1. Concha, Joe (August 29, 2017). "Laura Ingraham proposes declaring antifa a 'terrorist organization'"The Hill. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  2. Jump up to:a b Alba, Davey (June 1, 2020). "Misinformation About George Floyd Protests Surges on Social Media"The New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Sunshine, Spencer (June 5, 2020). "Blaming it on Antifa: Trump's Crisis Scapegoats"The Battleground. Retrieved September 13,2020.
  4. ^ Wilson, Jason (June 6, 2020). "What is antifa and why is Donald Trump targeting it?"The Guardian. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Nieto, Phillip (September 13, 2020). "Trump Campaign Sends Alarming Text to Supporters"Mediaite. Retrieved September 13,2020.
  6. ^ Maldonado, Alessandra (August 24, 2017). "Antifa '#PunchWhiteWomen' campaign revealed as 4Chan hoax"Salon. Retrieved August 30, 2017Reportedly, 'alt-right' activists have been using masked Twitter accounts and doctored photos of battered women to run a smear campaign against the antifa movement
  7. ^ "Fake 'antifa' campaign telling people to 'punch white women' is a 4chan hoax"The Daily Dot. August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 14,2019.
  8. ^ "Antifa activist didn't beat cop in Charlottesville (Faked image has been around for years)"Global News. August 19, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Romano, Aja (October 5, 2017). "After the Las Vegas shooting, 4chan and propagandists spread fake news"Vox. Retrieved September 11,2018.
  10. ^ "Misinformation Is the New Normal of Mass Shootings"Politico. October 2, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Alba, Davey; Decker, Ben (June 22, 2020). "41 Cities, Many Sources: How False Antifa Rumors Spread Locally"The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  12. ^ Collins, Ben; Zadrozny, Brandy; Saliba, Emmanuelle (June 1, 2020). "White nationalist group posing as antifa called for violence on Twitter". NBC News. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  13. ^ "False Claims of Antifa Protesters Plague Small US Cities". Voice of America. June 4, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Baragona, Justin; Sommer, Will (June 11, 2020). "Lara Logan, the Fox 'Investigative Journalist' Who Keeps Falling for Antifa Hoaxes"The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Graziosi, Graig (June 23, 2020). "Rudy Giuliani says Black Lives Matter 'wants to come and take your house away from you' in Fox News rant"The Independent. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "Family harassed in Forks after being accused of being members of Antifa"Peninsula Daily News. June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  17. ^ "Deputies investigate after family on camping trip harassed". June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  18. ^ Gstalter, Morgan (June 5, 2020). "Family camping in Washington harassed by locals, accused of being antifa members"The Hill. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  19. ^ Wilson, Jason (June 6, 2020). "Rightwing vigilantes on armed patrol after fake rumours of antifa threat"The Guardian. Retrieved June 6,2020.
  20. ^ Syeed, Nafeesa (September 1, 2017). "Pro-Russian Bots Sharpen Online Attacks for 2018 U.S. Vote". Bloomberg News. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  21. ^ Baker, Mike; Healy, Jack. "In Oregon, a Year of Political Tumult Extends to Devastating Wildfires"The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  22. ^ Palma, Bethania (September 10, 2020). "'Antifa' arsonists have been setting wildfires raging on the West Coast in September 2020"Snopes. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  23. ^ O'Sullivan, Donie (September 11, 2020). "911 dispatchers slammed with calls about QAnon-backed false claims about wildfires". CNN. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  24. ^ Funke, Daniel (September 10, 2020). "Antifa activists did not start the West Coast wildfires"PolitiFact. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  25. Jump up to:a b Collins, Ben; Zadrozny, Brandy (September 11, 2020). "West Coast officials are already fighting wildfires. Now they're fighting misinformation, too". NBC News. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  26. ^ O'Sullivan, Donie; Toropin, Konstantin (September 11, 2020). "QAnon fans spread fake claims about real fires in Oregon". CNN. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  27. ^ Thomas, Elise (February 17, 2020). "Qanon Deploys 'Information Warfare' to Influence the 2020 Election"Wired. Retrieved September 13, 2020.

 

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