Late Monday night, many of Bernie Sanders’s most popular Facebook pages were inundated with pornography, reported for obscenity, and then removed from the network. The attack began at 9 p.m. EST, shortly after Sanders completed his MSNBC Town Hall event, and continued until midnight, the Hill reports. Together, the targeted pages — which include Bernie or Bust, Bernie Believers, and Bernie Sanders is my HERO — are followed by more than 250,000 Sanderistas.
The attack came days after a Hillary Clinton super-pac announced that it had spent $1 million on a digital task force called Barrier Breakers 2016, a group of elite Twitter users who plan to fight the patriarchy by spamming “BernieBros” with pro-Clinton memes. Thus, many Sanders supporters concluded that David Brock’s goons must have coordinated the Facebook attacks. A post by “Casey Champagne” in the Facebook group “Bros4Hillary” appeared to confirm the Bernie-backers’ suspicions.
Champagne, whose Facebook Likes included Barrier Breakers 2016, bragged to his fellow Hillary Bros about how he reported a Sanders Facebook page for a “credible threat of violence.” Bros4Hillary deleted the post and officially denounced its rhetoric. However, most of the Bros4Hillary who commented on Champagne’s post appeared to approve of his action, writing, “LOL. ‘Credible,’” “YESSSS,” and “you are so fierce.”
Still, one false report of violent threats does not a porn attack make. And Aidan King, the Sanders campaign’s digital and social media manager, claimed that the Facebook pages were actually taken down by a bug that was indiscriminately infecting groups of all kinds.
“Our supporters are just more vocal so the internet blew up with ‘Bernie groups are being shut down’ rather than ‘FB groups are being shut down,’” King wrote on Reddit.
If you remain unconvinced by both the Berners’ suspicions of Clintonian scheming and King’s claim that it was all a random bug, historian Rick Perlstein offers an alternative conspiracy theory:
Roger Stone is a longtime Trump ally, who most recently made headlines by threatening violence against any GOP delegates who defy the Donald’s will. Stone got his start in politics working for Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign. One of the many nefarious tactics that campaign employed was to divide Democrats against each other, by impersonating one of the party’s campaigns while attacking others.
On Tuesday, Trump tried to sow seeds of division directly, by offering this innocent advice to his fellow “outsider candidate.”
The truth is out there.