People are falling for a fake Mueller indictment citing the 'international meme community'  7/14/2018 1:12:48 AM   Morgan Sung

Guys, not everything on the internet is true.

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the helm, the Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016. In a 29 page document, Mueller's team detailed how Russia's GRU operatives used spear-phishing attacks through malware to infiltrate the Clinton campaign and gain access to internal communications. 

The document did not mention anything about shitposting or memes.

Drew Fairweather, aka @drewtoothpaste, author of the webcomic ToothPaste For Dinner,  tweeted a screenshot of a fake version of the document, which claims Russian operatives "used Guccifer 2.0 to 'shit-post' over 16,000 times online." It also says that the operatives created a meme known as "Borgar" to "infiltrate the international meme community." 

According to this version, the GRU agents also graced us with a meme called "soup time" — and in all honestly, it's almost disappointing that this isn't real, because "soup time" has the potential to be a great meme. 

Despite Fairweather's bio, which very clearly states, "If I post news, it's not real, it's a fake I made," people actually fell for it. Even people who work in the media were duped by the fake screenshot.

It appears to have even made its way to NPR, where The Federalist's Ben Domenech told All Things Considered, "Much of it [the indictment] is taken up by the numbers of times that people were posting memes on the internet." 

Media tidbit: I was driving home today when the NPR segment linked below came on. At 2:30 on the linked audio file, @bdomenech says (about the indictment):

"Much of it is taken up by the numbers of times that people were posting memes on the internet."

— hilzoy (@hilzoy) July 13, 2018

An easy CTRL+F search through the document yields zero results for "shit-post," "memes," or even "lmao," the staple acronym for creating a quality shitpost. 

2/ Now: I rad the indictment. How much of it concerns memes? None, as far as I can recall. It's about Russians first hacking computers and then disseminating what they found. Not about memes.

I suspect @bdomenech got punked by this:

— hilzoy (@hilzoy) July 13, 2018

The real 48th paragraph discusses the 20,000 DNC emails released by Russian intelligence agents/ Memes were far from the focus of the document. 

When someone called him out for "being complicit in a disinformation campaign," Fairweather reminded people to do a little research before retweeting next time.

i'm a humor writer, not a news source. don't get mad at me if you don't know who i am or don't bother to read my bio

— drewtoothpaste (@drewtoothpaste) July 13, 2018

So let this be a cautionary tale: If a government document details foreign memes, maybe check if it's real first. 


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