An online We the People petition to "formally recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization" had over 140,000 signatures Friday morning — well over the requirement for a response from the White House.
It looks like the work of earnest, far-right-leaning Republicans, but the petition's success was actually due to anonymous trolls on 4chan, a controversial image board and internet culture hub. As a whole, 4chan's politics tend to align with the Donald Trump-loving alternative right, but its modus operandi is mischief — mostly, picking on politically correct liberals.
"Terrorism is defined as 'the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,'" the petition's author states, cribbing the definition from the Oxford Dictionaries. According to the petition, is the same definition used to declare the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS, and other groups as terrorist organizations.
According to the petition's authors, Black Lives Matter has "earned" the terrorist label because of its actions in Ferguson, Baltimore, a Bernie Sanders rally, and "all over the United States and Canada."
"It is time for the Pentagon to be consistent in its actions — and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare Black Lives Matter a terror group — on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality and safety," the petition reads.
4chan screenshots reveal the petition circulated on the politics board /pol/.
The petition was started on July 6, and less than 10 days later, it had already surpassed the required 100,000 signatures needed to get a response from the White House within two months of hitting the goal.
It shouldn't come as a big surprise that the petition spread on 4chan. The site's anonymous users love a petition-based prank. It's why, in 2012, Mountain Dew's "Dub the Dew" campaign ended up with new flavor names like "Fapple" and "Moist Nugget."
Pranks on 4chan often combine anarchic mischief with right-wing politics and prejudicial viewpoints. It's also responsible for the ballot-stuffing of a petition to have another EU referendum, resulting in 77,000 fraudulent votes. Last year, 4chan's "random" image board /b/ started a petition to have Caitlyn Jenner stripped of her Olympic gold medals.