Trump supporters tricked into joining ‘Gay Communists for Socialism’ group when all they wanted to do was deny a legitimate election
Thousands of Trump fans were tricked into joining a Facebook group named after their worst nightmare: “Gay Communists for Socialism.”
Over 40,000 members unwittingly joined what they thought was a pro-Trump election group, originally named “Stop the Steal”, after another, similarly named group was disabled by Facebook for spreading false claims that Joe Biden is “stealing” the US election.
As supporters flocked to the replacement group it became one of the fastest growing in Facebook’s history, attracting those trying to delegitimise Biden’s victory – until Friday, when its creators gave it a big, gay rebrand.
“What the hell! I didn’t join no gay communist group???” wrote one outraged member after seeing the new name, along with a header picture of Joe Biden and Barack Obama running through the White House carrying Pride flags.
A flood posts from angry and confused Republicans soon followed. “Have we been hacked?” asked one bewildered member. “Get me off this page!!!!!!” demanded another.
— chris (@MrTooDamnChris) November 6, 2020
One administrator, whose real identity could not be verified, confirmed to the Guardian that the group was a planned operation to troll conservatives with a fake “Stop the Steal” group.
“We had no idea it would take off like this or suck in as many clueless people as it did when we made the switch,” they said.
Sadly, their honeytrap didn’t last long. As of Monday the group was no more, and Facebook confirmed it had shut it down – because of the misleading name, not for the false information users had spread.
“We’ve removed several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behaviour tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
“That includes a group that was originally named ‘Stop the Steal’ which later became ‘Gay Communists for Socialism’ and misled people about its purpose using deceptive tactics.”