Ah yes, the alt-right trolls, back at it again with their meme warfare. Not content with destroying the GOP and the beloved Internet frog Pepe, these tee-hee-we’re-into-Trump-and-white-supremacy “pranksters” have been making fake Hillary Clinton ads again — this time, about being able to vote via text message. Except, unlike last week’s fake Hillary Clinton ads and the associated hashtag #DraftOurDaughters, these photoshopped images, that began circulating the evening of November 1st, may have been illegal. The very least, a violation of Twitter’s TOS on deceptive content and impersonation. Cohorts of the troll that originally spread the fake ads, the now suspended “Ricky Vaughn” whose former Twitter bio described himself as a “hero of the racist alt-right” and a “known white supremacist” (oh wow so trollsy), say the photoshopped images are just intended to be a joke, a parody.
People make parody ads all the time, so why are these ads making a fuss? Well… first off, as a joke it’s not a very good one. More importantly, these parody ads are not trying to be parody, or make some satirical point about Clinton being a war hawk… they are trying to masquerade and deceive to mess with voting in ways that could be deemed “voter suppression.” According to Slate, the US is in the grips of a “voter suppression crisis.” Vanity Fair agrees, but the National Review says gimme a break. Whatever your feelings on the matter, voter suppression is this week’s buzzword.
Speaking of… Buzzfeed’s Charlie Wenzel wondered if the mock Clinton campaign ads violated laws enforced by the Federal Election Commission. Wenzel generally viewed the series of fake ads — circulated for less than a day — as an attempt to disenfranchise voters, as did other journalists and theoretical physicist Robert McNees, who screencapped Ricky Vaughn’s photoshops and had his tweets of the screencaps featured in articles on Wired and Vox.