Advanced Meme Warfare — July 6, 2016 (CW)

Erin Gallagher
Aug 1, 2018 · 4 min read

“We have the advantage of being an anonymous swarm with a singular goal. We don’t have to play fair. We can say and spread whatever we want.”

4chan Memetic Warfare Army

This is blog # 2 in a series of blogs about 4chan trolling tactics during the 2016 election. View the entire series here.

Advanced Meme Warfare /cfg/ (clinton foundation general) posted by “MYNUNUDONALDACCOUNT” on July 6, 2016 and last edited on July 11, 2016 currently has 6,351 views. Advanced Meme warfare presents “successful guerilla PR / Astroturfing campaigns” broken down into 3 steps:

Step 1: Research
Step 2: Content Creation
Step 3: Outreach

Most of the “research” I found was frenetic posts about the Clinton Foundation which I’m not going to go into here, but give you an idea of what kind of “research” was going on with this message board, have a look at this archive of archived threads:

This research culminated in a 90 page google doc authored by a group of concerned citizens who said they were “rather successful in memeing CF into the public sphere.”

That information was posted to a website dedicated to investigating the Clinton Foundation. The website is offline now but archived here in the wayback machine:

The Content Creation step stresses the need to turn themselves into “a well oiled meme factory” and I found several links to instructions on creating effective graphics, typography and design theory as well as graphics tools and resources scattered throughout the pastebins.

They encourage “photoshop fags” to take a crash course in mass persuasion and note (correctly) that the most effective political propaganda appeals to emotion.

“Take a look at some of the most effective historical attack propaganda. You’ll see racism, rape, murder, and slander. The worst shit you can think of. We need to create a feeling of disgust towards Hillary when the users see our images.”

Additional resources include links to official fonts and colors from the Clinton campaign, a meme bank (links are now inactive) an archived link to a 2015 8chan post called “The Bureau of Memetic Warfare” and a link to the July 10 pastebin of social media tactics that was created 4 days after this pastebin was posted and (I’m guessing) was added when the July 6 pastebin was edited on July 11.

OUTREACH is an interesting section of this pastebin and if you spend any time on social media, you should recognize a lot of these tricks. Botting is a key component to the outreach strategy.

The tips for creating bot accounts are followed by websites to get free bots for Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, paid bots and bulk paid accounts. The “PROXIES” section includes links for paid, shared and public proxies to get IP addresses for the bot accounts.

One of the bulk paid account websites listed in this pastebin: is the same website Joseph Cox, cybersecurity reporter for The Daily Beast, used to buy 1,000 Russian bots for $45 USD in September 2017.

Russian bots are not all linked to the Russian government. There is a global commercial industry that provides these kinds of services. If you are buying bots online, there’s a good chance you’ll get Russian accounts because that’s what websites selling bots have in inventory.

The “Fake News King” of Mexico, Carlos Merlo recently admitted to Buzzfeed News that he buys a lot of Russian accounts and changes their names to Mexican sounding names.

If you work in the media, “ADDITIONAL MEDIA WARFARE AND MANIPULATION” will make you cringe:

  • Lead unethical reporters on wild goose chases. Do 10 at the same time. eg:
  • Find SHILLARY and CTR PR firms and fuck with their employees online and over the phone. Bully them.
  • Concern troll / Tone Police / Distract / Disrupt Enemies en-masse. Waste their time and resources.
  • Submit anti hillary story leads to
  • Paid press releases:

The July 6, 2016 pastebin ends with instructions to use anonymous browsing and proxies to do their “shitposting” and safely opening files with virtual machines.

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Erin Gallagher

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Multimedia artist, writer and translator. Digital news junkie, agitprop collector.