In the hours after the horrific mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, people desperately searched the internet for any sign of a motive or meaning behind the attack. Early Friday, a number of unverified social-media posts surfaced, along with a bizarre manifesto posted to 8 chan, rich with irony and references to memes.
Together, these posts suggest that every aspect of the shootings was designed to gain maximum attention online, in part by baiting the media. The shooter live-streamed the attack itself on Facebook and the video was quickly shared across YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Before committing the act he shouted “Remember, lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie,” a reference to Felix Kjellberg, who runs YouTube’s most subscribed-to channel. The phrase itself is a meme started by Pewdiepie’s fans, and its goal is to be reprinted.
Kjellberg, who has previously found himself embroiled in controversy over alleged anti-Semitism, disavowed the shooting on Twitter Friday morning. “Just heard news of the devastating reports from New Zealand Christchurch. I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person. My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected by this tragedy,” he wrote. By forcing Kjellberg to acknowledge the attack, the shooter succeeded in further spreading the word about the crime to his tens of millions of followers.
Significant portions of the manifesto appear to be an elaborate troll, written to prey on mainstream media’s worst tendencies. As the journalist Robert Evans noted, “This manifesto is a trap … laid for journalists searching for the meaning behind this horrific crime. There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter’s radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, ‘shitposting.'”
Shitposting is a slang term used to describe the act of posting trollish and usually ironic content designed to derail a conversation or elicit a strong reaction from people who aren’t in on the joke. Certain aspects of the shooter’s manifesto fall into this category. He includes Navy Seal Copypasta, a meme that originated on 4chan. He claims that Spyro the Dragon 3, a video game, taught him ethno-nationalism and Fortnite taught him to “floss on the corpses,” referring to a viral dance move from the game. These are absurd references likely meant to exploit people’s fear of video games and …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Technology