Duped by a troll account, American and Australian journalists spread false information that the Proud Boys were traveling to Eastern Europe to fight for Russia.
“We’ve taken off! See you when we get back to Australia. The brothers left behind are looking after this great nation. We’ll be back with great gifts for all! #Ukraine #bridewive,” Proud Boys Southern Tablelands troll account tweeted Friday. [The account had around 10 followers at the time of the tweet.]
The clip uploaded by the Twitter account is taken from an old video posted by a YouTuber in 2018 flying from Sydney to Hong Kong.
The same troll account too job“Proud Boys Southern Tablelands are sending a group of 8 of their best tomorrow on a flight from Sydney to Poland 1610. We will meet our brothers from Proud Boys chapters around the world and walk to Ukraine to help Vlad. Pray for us. Uhuru!”
Predictably, the mainstream media took the bait. Before long, the hoax was quickly picked up and spread by blue-checked personalities on Twitter who expressed collective shock and outrage that the right-wing group was attempting such a feat.
Among those who believed a troll account posting flight takeoff footage from 2018 was current were Twitter-verified ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) news reporter Max Walden and ABC’s RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas.
New York Times tech reporter Sheera FrenkelGuardian Writer Van Badham and MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance also promoted the hoax on Twitter.
Frenkel tried to justify his report that Proud Boys could send fighters to Ukraine based on their Telegram posts, reported Andy Ngo, editor of the Post Millennial. “For those asking, a number of Proud Boys channels are posting videos and photos of them allegedly in Ukraine. I cannot independently verify their location, so I phrase this carefully.”
According to Ngo’s screenshots, messages from the “Kyiv Proud Boy Chapter” say statements such as “Please keep all travel receipts for Trump Foundation reimbursements” and “I have just returned from my meeting with Putin. “.
Ngo noted that even leftist accounts admitted it was a hoax.
“[T]That a troll tweet from a Proud Boys account with 10 followers made its way to AFP, NYTimes reporters sharing it and pro-fascist Andy Ngo using it to undermine trust in the media shows why we must be careful when interacting with claims from people who want to divert our attention,” one left-leaning Twitter account wrote.
Rosa L. Smothers, a self-proclaimed geopolitical expert and former CIA intelligence operative, also fell for the trap that the Proud Boys are sending an international squad to meet and help Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It’s all fun and white supremacist war games until Russian soldiers steal their shoes and protein bars,” she said. wrote. [She later deleted her tweet.]