How The Alt-Right Manipulates The Internet’s Biggest Commenting Platform

How The Alt-Right Manipulates The Internet’s Biggest Commenting Platform

The alt-right and white nationalist trolls who frequent Twitter and backwater message boards have found another gathering place online: the commenting platform Disqus.

Used by publications like Rolling Stone and TMZ, Disqus says it gets about 2 billion unique visitors each month. It supports anonymous commenting and allows its users to comment on any Disqus-enabled site — a single Disqus account is a gateway to discussions on thousands of sites. It also hosts its own channels. And lately some of those channels have become rallying points for white nationalists and white supremacists looking to red-pill users in discussions around contentious, already-politicized news events. And while Disqus has a hate speech policy that should prevent or temper this, it doesn’t seem to be particularly vigorous about enforcing it. The trolls are free to plot.

Said one Disqus user, “This strategy of taking over the top comments with fact-based comments seems to have been paying off as we’ve picked up support along the way from people who might have been on the fence… or just completely unawares.” Another suggested using fake, sock-puppet Disqus accounts to flood comment sections. “If you had 20 guys with 10 socks each, you could dramatically force the narrative in the correct direction and also distract the mods and regular posters using various methods,” they observed.

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