Ever since Donald Trump shocked the political establishment when he triumphed over Hillary Clinton in 2016 many people in high places began to ask “what happened“ and „how did we got here“.
Some were ready to point the finger of blame to fringe communities on the Internet like 4chan or theDonald subreddit.
Stories about memes and trolls started appearing in mainstream media, stories with titles like „How Tweets, Trolls, and Memes Won the Presidency for Donald Trump“.
Not only journalists and pundits, but also some scientists and researchers have turned their focus to online communities – scientific studies started to appear about 4chan trying to prove that this image board was an important factor in the rise of the „extremist right“.
The trend continues.
Few days after chaotic 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Democrats blamed 4chan trolls for the problems the party had with vote reporting by saying trolls added to Iowa caucus hotline chaos by purposefully clogging the lines after the voting app malfunctioned.
NBC reports that several officials at caucuses struggled with lengthy hold times that made it impossible for them to report results over the phone, adding that 4chan users “repeatedly posted the phone number for the Iowa Democratic Party … both as screenshots and in plain text, alongside instructions.”
Rob Sand, state auditor of Iowa, said he took results calls on Monday night as a volunteer and received an influx of calls that appeared to have been generated by a post on the internet.
But 4chan is not only blamed for US elections.
An article published by Europenowjournal.org claims that trolls also contributed to the rise of far-Right AfD party in Germany.
4chan anons reportedly coordinated their efforts via chat applications.
„In the case of their involvement in the German elections, for example, anons used the “Discord” chat applications, (with channels named “Infokrieg” and “Reconquista Germania”) to share campaign tactics codified into “Information War” field manuals, as well as assigning faux-military titles such as “Übermensch Influencer” to participants with high numbers of Twitter followers. While they failed in their fantasy of “meming” a European right-wing leader to become head of state—as they imagine themselves to have accomplished with Trump—these coordinated efforts did however arguably push AfD hashtags to the top of Twitter, possibly helping to contribute to the best showing for a far-right party in that country in generations“, reports Europenowjournal.org.