Exploring the “fake news” merchants attempting to subvert the Irish abortion referendum.
On 4chan, a number of users who identified as Irish attempted to infiltrate the online conversation and tarnish the pro-repeal campaign. Operation Zyklon encouraged users to spread awareness of a connection between Amnesty International Ireland and the philanthropist George Soros, who donated €137,000 to Amnesty’s My Body My Rights campaign in 2016. Operation Trojan Horse saw users sharing templates of fake pro-repeal posters with extreme captions such as, “There should be no limit on abortion up to birth”. Users were encouraged to print and spread these posters around college campuses and share them across social media. A particularly curious operation called Operation Drunken Monkey aimed to stifle student voter turnout by organizing club nights on May 24 in the hope that students would be too hungover to vote the following day.