TROLLED: MAGA meme maker CONVICTED on election interference charges

TROLLED: MAGA meme maker CONVICTED on election interference charges

Douglass Mackey claimed he was just trolling, posting “ridiculous” memes, and being hilarious on social media. A jury disagreed, finding him guilty after hearing the allegations that he used a meme of fake campaign posters purporting to be from Hillary Clinton to con internet users into missing their opportunity to actually cast a vote in the 2016 election.

Mackey, who posted his election interference memes under the alias “Ricky Vaughn,” was shown to have a history of suggesting that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and of calling Black people “gullible.”

Prosecutors used this evidence to combat his claims that he was merely “sh*tposting” and didn’t intend anyone to take his posts seriously.

However, his offending post was less a meme than a fake campaign ad — it invited voters to “Avoid the line” and “Vote from home,” and specifically targeted Black women who sought to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. (Scroll down to see an image of the faux poster).

The posts Mackey made included the fake poster — along with hashtags and slogans falsely associating it with the Clinton campaign.

Mackey tried to defend himself with a claim that he didn’t really know what went on in the group chat where the image was created, but prosecutors brought witnesses who said he was the “leader” and “respected” for his “strategic use” of such images.

His reach was also extensive — an MIT analysis of influences in the 2016 election placed Mackey’s account above news outlets and more mainstream politically influential figures like Stephen Colbert and Newt Gingrich.

The New York Daily News reports on one of these witnesses, who turned FBI informant:

“A key witness for the prosecution — a notorious troll with the screen name ‘Microchip’ — was allowed to testify anonymously. He said the fake vote-by-text ads were designed to ‘defraud voters of their right to vote,’ and described Mackey as a leader in the group chats, someone respected for his large following and his strategic use of memes.”
An affidavit in the case describes further how Mackey’s efforts to be anonymous were defeated by posts on the social media site Gab, as well as by a podcaster and others who interviewed him anonymously but were later able to identify him in photos.
A Congressional candidate also admitted that Mackey “offered his services” to their campaign — not only identifying him but further belying claims that his posts were not intended to influence election outcomes.
Check out the meme of the fake poster below, then scroll beyond to watch right-wing extremists Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene defend him and portray him as an innocent influencer who was just posting funny memes.

Greene says this is a matter of free speech, and that Attorney General Merrick Garland is preventing Republicans from “win[ning] the information war.”

Carlson suggests it’s unfair that there was an FBI informant in the group chats, and that this was just about “memes making fun of Hillary Clinton and her supporters.”

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.