An anonymous account is masquerading as a way for people to learn more about members of the controversial far-left collective “antifa” and its upcoming gatherings, according to several members of the antifa community.
@AntifaToday and its associated website are a “honeypot,” or a trap to get personal information from users, according to Antifa Checker, a project that seeks to verify legitimate antifa-related groups. Several other figures related to the movement confirmed the account was not legitimate. The well-known checker has retweeted several people making claims about the authenticity of @AntifaToday.
Antifa—short for “anti-fascist”—is a loose-knit collective of far-left activists whose mission is to combat fascism and racism. While the original antifa movement began in Europe in the 1930s, the modern incarnation can be traced to the 1980s punk movement, which sought to reject the rise of neo-Nazis in the punk scene. While antifa activists generally fall on the left side of the political spectrum, mainstream progressives and Democrats often distance themselves from the collective due to their willingness to engage in violence.
The antifa movement has been thrust into the mainstream in recent weeks after the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, that was a result of white nationalists rallying in the small college town. A man suspected of having ties to neo-Nazis drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman and injuring some 20 others. Antifa activists are accused of instigating violence against white supremacists and other members of the affiliated “alt-right.”
The ongoing war between antifa and the alt-right—which has been waged online as well as in the streets—has put both sides on high alert as they attempt to out-maneuver each other. The allegedly bogus @AntifaToday account appears to be part of this effort.
The @AntifaToday account is not followed by the checker, which only follows “legitimate antifa accounts,” according to its Twitter bio.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the @AntifaToday account has only 26 followers and just began posting on Twitter late last week. The account has retweeted several stories denouncing fascism and sent out multiple links to its website, which several groups claim is a honeypot.
Alt-Right trolls set up large honeypot. Block the account @AntifaToday. It's encouraging people to give private info and promoting events. pic.twitter.com/BaMV4XRC5I— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 22, 2017
In the aftermath of Charlottesville, a White House petition urging the federal government to label antifa a “terrorist organization” surpassed the needed number of signatures required to get a response from President Donald Trump’s administration.