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13 February 2016

How Ukip Does Social Media

There are a fixed number (albeit reducing) of Official Ukip Branches - but there seems to be an endless supply of Social Media Accounts named "Insert Town Name Here" Ukip.

Some of these are Official - we can tell. They restrain themselves, they are not (very often) abusive, and they stick to rather banally reposting from the main Ukip accounts, or those of Ukip MEPs and Officials.

Quite a lot of them are Johnny 'Wannabees' - simply (simple?) Ukip supporters, starting an account, bestowing on themselves a grand title (as if they represent a town, or region). They are unleashed, and can - and usually do - create and spread very offensive and vile hate posts. They love to repost 'White Supremacy' conspiracy theories, other posts from Neo Nazi sites and frequently repost Britain First, EDL and Pegida 'memes'.

Then .. there's the Unofficial Ukip 'sock' accounts; Set up 'outside' the 'Official' Ukip umbrella, but either on Ukip instructions or with tacit agreement and approval, obstensibly with no connection, but the solid link is there.

This is a way for Ukip to post their racism, homophobia and islamophobia without Media or Electoral Commission oversight.

Here's how the timeline works, for just one account, a pretty standard example of the methodology used, from one of our sources inside Ukip:

  • Ukip Local Branch is set up;
  • Same day, local 'Official' Twitter Account is set up.
  • Same day again, another 'Unofficial' Twitter Account is set up, with similair name.
  • Ukip Regional Official discovers the 'Unofficial' account purporting to be representing Ukip locally, posting White Supremacy material and AntiSemitism.
  • Ukip Regional Official reports the account to the relevant Local Branch Chairman;
  • Local Branch Chairman claims it's 'run by an ex-member' and 'outside their control'.
  • Local Branch Chairman sends email to said 'ex-member' asking them to cease activity on the account.
  • Account continues to post Racist and Homophobic Hate.
  • Ukip Regional Official again queries status of the account and 'who actually runs it'.
  • Local Branch Chairman accuses Ukip Regional Official of 'causing trouble'.
  • All reference to discussion of the matter at Local Branch Meeting is removed from the official minutes.
  • 'Unofficial' account posts NeoNazi material from StormFront and similair sites.
  • Ukip Regional Official warned 'not to discuss the matter ever, ever again'.
  • Proof is brought forward that the account was set up ON THE INSTRUCTION of the Local Branch Chairman.
  • 'Unofficial' Ukip account continues to post vile racist material with the knowledge and approval of Local Branch Chairman.
  • Matter is brought to attention of a Ukip MEP who orders the Local Branch to shut down the account immediately.
  • Local Branch Chairman maintains they have no connection with account - but it closes within an hour.
  • Acrimonious Branch Meeting ends in resignations and local Donors withdrawal of Financial Support over the matter.

  • The Ukip NEC, when fully informed of the matter, take the Official Position that they;

    'will investigate ... but only if it leaks out'.
  • 2 days later ... Unofficial Account reopens under slightly changed name - and to this day, continues to post and repost extremist material with the full knowledge of the Local Branch Chairman.

And this is how Ukip works.

This saga is merely the best documented one we have, but the pattern is repeated up and down the country, on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, YouTube, and Newspaper Comment Forums.

Why do they do this?

Because Ukip know that they rely for their core vote on hatred of migrants, refugees, and muslims. But they can't be too open about this on Official accounts.

These 'sock puppet' accounts allow Ukip - so they think - to spout their hatred and never get held to account. But it's not too hard to identity the names behind various accounts ...

... and their status within the Local Ukip Branches.

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