A Lesson In How To Troll Far-Right Extremists
When Gareth Arnoult stumbled across the Britain First Facebook page, he assumed that it must be a parody account, satirising far-right groups.
In his mind, surely no one would publish made-up, racist, scaremongering statistics, other than as a joke?! Surely no one would advocate racial hatred in the form of overtly anti-Muslim propaganda, and then expect people to take them seriously?!
But obviously, Britain First do. Recently reaching one million likes on Facebook, this ‘political party’ makes up statistics, conveniently ignores certain facts, and refers to Muslims as a ‘cancer’, that us in the west need to be rid of.
Not a parody page then.
But Gareth was inspired. He realised that it might be hilarious to spoof Britain First, and troll some of their supporters: the closet racists that mash their keyboards in rage whenever they see a badly photoshopped image of a ‘Muslim’ ‘burning’ a poppy.
He set up ‘Britain Furst’, and quickly amassed likes (175,592 at this very second) as he found a way to satirize the fact that people very much believe whatever they read on the internet.
We spoke to Gareth, and he taught us his ways:
Step One: Make up ridiculous, blatantly untrue news stories, and wait for far-right supporters to believe them.
“I remember posting that Channel 5 were going to ban Peppa Pig in Muslim-majority areas and people went mental…. We also said that Muslims were allowed to break the speed limit during Ramadan and the English Defence League went mental about it – I think their former leader ended up tweeting about it.”
Step Two: Have some fun with those who can’t spell ‘first’, and think that Britain Furst is actually the official page for Britain First.
“I get messages in my inbox daily from people who want to “fite back” against immigration, sometimes I string them along. I asked one guy to send a picture of him doing a “serious face” to make sure he was serious – it turns out he was incredibly serious and sent a picture of his serious face. I was in hysterics.
Most of the time I just ask them if they think they are “racist enough” to join, and they usually reply with some racist vitriol. It’s quite entertaining.”
Step Three: Make sure you stand up for what you believe in. As Gareth said:
“I want anyone reading, who feels strongly about any cause – even if your cause directly conflicts with mine – to spend five minutes today trolling for it: cause disruption to the haters, post petty comments just for a cheap giggle, order 15 kilos of horse manure to someone’s house you don’t like.
I think it’s incredibly important to stand up for what you believe in, so don’t be a coward about it. Remember, you’re not trying if you’re not trolling.”
And Gareth is certainly trolling. His made-up memes (for example the one which screamed that Big Ben was changing its name to Big Mohamed) are going viral, and he’s getting equal attention from far right supporters who think that he’s the next Nigel Farage (and who are then very confused when he posts a picture in support – yes support – of Syrian refugees), and from those who are in on the joke.
Gareth promises that this is only the beginning for Britain Furst. He is planning projects that will reach the national press (so watch this space), and after recording a parody cover of Coldplay’s Fix You last Christmas, we’re expecting big, funny, and – needless to say – controversial things from him.