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28 May, 2019 18:03

Is the # sign a symbol of Nazism and white supremacy? 4chan is trying to make people think so

Is the # sign a symbol of Nazism and white supremacy? 4chan is trying to make people think so

Trolls on the infamous 4chan forum are attempting to co-opt the innocent hashtag and turn it into a symbol of white nationalism called the “fashtag” — but don’t worry, it’s not a real thing, and you can keep hashtagging as normal.

The 4chan pranksters are trying to trick social media users (and the media) into believing that it is a secret alt-right symbol, however — and some “disgusted” Twitter users have been urging their followers to immediately cease all use of the popular pound sign.

It all started with a post on the /pol/ (“politically incorrect”) message board, in which an anonymous user calls on fellow 4chan-ers to “start using # to represent the swastika on memes and social media.”

It will be “the perfect win-win situation,” the user writes, adding that Twitter (where the symbol is used most frequently) “will have to accept blatant nazism on its forum's [sic] or it will effectively have to find a way to get rid of the sites [sic] core mechanics.” Co-opting the hashtag could “f*ck up Twitter” and “force corporations to stop putting hashtags on every f*cking ad ever,” the nameless user continued.

The campaign was dubbed ‘Bash the Hash’ in a reference to the anti-fascist ‘Bash the Fash’ memes — and some social media users quickly bought into the whole thing, tweeting warnings that the inoffensive pound sign is a “hate symbol of the right,” proving how easily the public can be duped and manipulated.

Not everyone was fooled, however…

It's not the first time 4chan pranksters have tried to convince people that a seemingly innocent and innocuous gesture was actually a secret alt-right signal.

In 2017, the “OK” hand gesture meaning ‘thanks’ fell prey to a similar 4chan effort to promote it as a signal used by white supremacists. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) even included it in its database of “hate symbols” and explained it was used by both genuine white supremacists and regular right-wingers “for the purpose of trolling liberals.”

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