This Twitter Account Is Trying to #NameTheNazis, and It’s Doing a Pretty Good Job

This Twitter Account Is Trying to #NameTheNazis, and It’s Doing a Pretty Good Job

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In response to Friday night’s and yesterday’s violence at the University of Virginia, the twitter account YesYoureRacist posted a number of riot photos. The photos appeared with a call for followers to identify people marching on the Neo-Nazi side.

Created in 2012, “Yes, You’re Racist” is committed to “expose ordinary racism on Twitter”. Every time a user starts his tweet with “I’m not racist but …”, the account reminds him that this turn is precisely racist.

It’s been a busy weekend for the account, as they have taken it upon themselves to identify the individuals in the viral photos floating around the internet. And they’re doing a pretty good job.

“If you recognize any of those Nazis who have demonstrated in Charlottesville, send me their names /profiles and I will make them famous,” the account user said. Their message has been shared more than 38,000 times.

One of the first tweets appears to place alt-right activist Cole “Based Rick Flair Guy” White at the riots.

@YesYoureRacist also has a photo of what it claims to be alt-right leader and white supremacist Richard Spencer being arrested.Richard Spencer, however, says that it wasn’t him.

Unfortunately, this is not the only mistake @YesYoureRacist has made in identifying people. One tweet allegedly identifies YouTuber Joey Salads wearing a Nazi armband:

While this is a correct ID, the photo was not taken in Charlottesville. It was for a prank video that’s five months old.

Joey Salads has built a YouTube career out of similar prank videos. He calls them “Social Experiments,” though they mostly involve being offensive at people and feigning surprise when they get mad. One of his most infamous is one where he “pranks” black people by calling them the n-word.

While on its face the idea of outing racists appealing, these two cases show the inherent problems. When a news story is breaking, it’s hard to keep up. With so many sources, it’s easy for misinformation to be introduced. In the 2013 Boston Bombing, Twitter and Reddit tried to help the FBI identify the culprits. Unfortunately, they identified and focused on a number of innocent suspects.

RELATED | Hillary Clinton Responds to Violence in Charlottesville: ‘We Will Not Step Backward’

But since then, the Twitter account has made quite a number of other identifications. A lot of these newer IDs are right on the money, as they’re supplying information from the accused social media accounts to corroborate their attendance at the rally.

The first person the account identified, Cole White, reportedly lost their job thanks in part to the research work the Twitter account is doing.

Of course, if you can identify a Nazi without a shadow of a doubt, go for it. But be very careful you’ve got the right one.

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