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Far-right website the Daily Stormer claims that it has thousands of what it calls “fake black person” accounts on Twitter for use in an upcoming mass trolling and disinformation “campaign”.
In an article published on Wednesday, the website was encouraging its readers and followers to begin creating more fake accounts. It appears that these accounts will serve to antagonize and confuse debate and conversation.
“When you have time, create a fake black person account,” it reads. “Just go on black Twitter and see what they look like, copy that model. Start filling it with rap videos and booty-shaking or whatever else these blacks post. Read through their posts to get an idea of how they post. You need to be able to post in a manner which is indistinguishable from normal black tweeters…”
This pending retaliation appears to follow a quick bout of successive account suspensionsrolled out over the past few days by the social media giant as part of its refreshed Hateful Conduct Policy, which it introduced in a statement this week:
“Our hateful conduct policy prohibits specific conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Today we’re giving you a more direct way to report this type of conduct for yourself, or for others, whenever you see it happening. This will improve our ability to process these reports, which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse, and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter.”
The company is attempting to clean itself up a little, after its reputation as an unpoliced platform rampant with bullying has turned off some major buyers. The new features even allow users to mute keywords or phrases that they do not want to see.
White supremacists are particularly riled on this occasion since this tightened policy and pushback on trolling has seen a number of high profile alt-right verified accounts dropped. One of the first individuals suspended was that of famed white nationalist Richard Spencer, who runs an alt-right think-tank the National Policy Institute. The think-tank’s account was also suspended.
I've never seen Richard be anything but respectful on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/wtKCHzoRWC— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) November 16, 2016
Several other prominent right-wing personalities were hit too, in what the Daily Caller framed as a “major purge”:
Even aware of the Daily Stormer’s threat, a Twitter spokesperson simply reaffirmed to the Daily Dot that “the Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.”
In just the last number of hours the gamergate hashtag #YourSlipIsShowing has revived and is starting to trend. This hashtag was originally used by activists to out fake feminist accounts. Whether this has been employed by activists preemptively or whether it is being pushed into circulation by trolls is unknown, but one thing’s for sure: The escalating conflict between Twitter and alt-right is about to get extremely messy.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.