Following the violent protests that killed three people and injured scores in Charlottesville, Virginia, users on various social media channels are trying to identify people who allegedly participated in the white nationalist rally.
Using photos taken at the scene at the University of Virginia campus, Emancipation Park, and nearby streets, users have already identified several individuals, some of whom have been fired after they were outed.
“If you recognise any of the Nazis marching in
#Charlottesville, send me their names/profiles and I’ll make them famous #GoodNightAltRight,” the Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist, posted on Saturday.
That account has been active in “exposing casual racism on Twitter since 2012,” and has seen a flurry of activity in recent days, uploading images and attempting to identify alleged members of the white supremacist rally.
Cole White, an employee of Top Dog, a hot-dog restaurant in Berkeley, California, was fired on Saturday after a photograph of him attending the rally went viral.
“Effective Saturday 12th August, Cole White no longer works at Top Dog,” read a sign outside Top Dog on Sunday. “The actions of those in Charlottesville are not supported by Top Dog. We believe in individual freedom and voluntary association for everyone.”
Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student attending the University of Nevada, Reno, also had his image and identity spread across the Internet, to which he said he understood that the photo had a “very negative connotation.”
“As a white nationalist, I care for all people,” Cvjetanovic said in Channel 2 News. “We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
However, not all photographed individuals appear to have been correctly identified, and some now-deleted tweets may have contained “potential private info,” raising ethical questions for the campaign.
After the Boston marathon bombing in 2013, users from Reddit and 4Chan, two popular online communities that boast millions of monthly users, wrongly identified Sunil Tripathi, a missing Brown University student, as one of the suspects based on images from the scene. Soon afterwards, media outlets began circulating Tripathi’s image and his family began receiving “hundreds of threatening and anti-Islamic messages.”
“I’m hearing that the Arkansas Engineering dude was NOT @RoperBilly, who has tattoos, but some OTHER inbred racist guy who looks like a thumb,” @YesYoureRacist said in a tweet. User “RoperBilly” has since had his account suspended by Twitter.
@YesYoureRacist did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
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