“Mythical buses full of bloodthirsty antifa protestors are causing panic in rural counties throughout the country — even though there’s no evidence they exist,” as The Verge is reporting. “The Associated Press has catalogued at least five separate rural counties where locals have warned of imminent attacks, although none of the rumors have been substantiated. Notably, the rumors are often tailored to a specific local region, a ‘hyperlocal’ approach sometime used to boost the spread of misinformation on social media platforms.
“NBC News first reported on the recent surge of antifa-related misinformation, some of which was promoted by white nationalist groups posing as antifa accounts. But even after the rumors were debunked, they continue to spread on Facebook, often inspiring real-life confrontations and instances of violence.
‘SOMEONE POSTED IT SAYING IT’S FULL OF ANTIFA.‘
“In Forks, Washington, a multi-racial family of four was harassed by armed locals, who believed they represented an antifa incursion. The family had arrived in town on a camping trip, traveling in a full-sized school bus. Local police say they were confronted by ‘seven or eight carloads’ of people, who aggressively questioned them about their antifa connections. When the family attempted to drive off, locals felled trees across the roadway to prevent them from escaping. They were only able to leave after a group of students intervened.
“In other cases, everyday bus charter businesses have been pulled into the confusion, treated as presumed troop convoys until proven otherwise. On Wednesday, an Idaho fleet services business was targeted by a minor panic, after a debunked rumor claimed incoming agitators were targeting the state. One local posted a picture of his bus on Facebook as evidence of the antifa incursion, claiming ‘this bus was full of them.’
“’If anyone sees a post about my bus, please flag it,’ the company owner posted on Wednesday. ‘Nolan was driving home from work and someone posted it saying it’s full of antifa.”’
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