Memetic Warfare: An In-Depth Look at Fake Antifa Trolls [Part 3]
In the third installment of our Memetic Warfare series, we examine a recurrent troll tactic of the Fake Antifa campaign: reverse psychology.
Reverse psychology, for those who don’t know, is a persuasion technique that involves falsely advocating a belief or behavior that is the opposite of what is really wanted.
For instance, if a parent wanted to persuade their child to eat their vegetables, the parent may say: “I bet you can’t eat your veggies.” Thus, the child reacts to the negativity of the above statement by consuming his/her vegetables to prove their parent wrong.
This persuasion technique is recurrently utilized by Fake Antifa, further evidence of the manipulative, not humorous, nature of the smear campaign. Below, we present some examples of this tactic in action.
Tactic 5: Manipulate your audience with reverse psychology.
On July 10, 2017, a Twitter account named “Official Antifa” shared a YouTube video that advocated for undermining antifascists on Patreon.
The account, which is no longer in service, falsely pleaded to its followers to refrain from participating in the “#DefundAntifa challenge.”
No true antifascist would share an anti-Antifa video, especially one that attacks an antifascist revenue stream.
Recalling that rightists often mistaken Fake Antifa for legitimate Antifa, two goals behind the tweet are evident:
- Manipulate users to “participate in this challenge” by asking them not to
- And increase the reach of the anti-Antifa video.
Another example of this was seen on November 9, 2017, when “NFL Antifa” asked its followers to not share a humiliating anti-Antifa meme.
“This meme is making the rounds. DO NOT retweet!” the account taunted.
On February 16, 2018, “Newcastle Antifa” shared an anti-Islam video while pleading that the video not be shared.
Finally, an example of reverse psychology in action was seen on February 14, 2018, when the now-defunct @LagBeachAntifa7 account posted an image that implied a recent school shooter was linked to the antifascist movement.
Laguna Beach Antifa asked Twitter users to not share the picture because “we dont need anymore bad press.”
Lo and behold, the image was retweeted and liked thousands of times, and even prompted Snopes to publish an article denouncing the fake news tweet.
Although Fake Antifa trolls claim they’re “parodying” Antifa, it’s apparent that they’re highly manipulative and destructive.
They have no problem with exploiting the hearts and minds of the American people.