Trolls on far-right message boards have apparently been creating fake Craigslist ads claiming to be selling removed mailboxes to trick people amid concerns regarding recent changes to the United States Postal Service.
In recent weeks, there have been widespread concerns about changes ordered by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, which according to Reuters include restrictions on overtime work and removal of some mail-sorting machines. Reuters also noted that there are reports of mailboxes being removed “in some states.” DeJoy on August 18 announced he was “suspending” the changes until after Election Day.
In response to those attempted changes to the Postal Service, particularly about reports of removed mailboxes, trolls on TheDonald.win -- the new forum for the banned subreddit “r/The_Donald” -- and 4chan have apparently tried to fan the flames of resulting fears about how they could impact the election and other services. On August 18, a user on TheDonald.win posted an image of a Craigslist ad for “Out of service mailboxes” in Norfolk, Virginia, with the title “Trolling libs on Craigslist.” The supposed ad copy said the seller had “a confidential contract to remove all of these mailboxes from within a 100 mile radius of Norfolk” and offered to sell them for $20 apiece.
Users lauded the supposed ad, which was one of the top upvoted posts on TheDonald.win on August 18, writing that would “copy pasta this shit for the lulz” and floating “blast[ing] this to info emails for all” mainstream media. Some users claimed to have created their own ads, posting links and even writing out the text and including posted images as a template for others to copy.
The troll campaign then seemed to make its way over to 4chan, with a user soon after midnight on August 19 posting an image of the same Norfolk ad and writing, “I've been posting adds in liberal cities on Craigslist. Using a burner number, the liberal salty tears are amazing,” and urging users to “post mail boxes for sale across the country” in order to “drive them insane.”
Like on TheDonald.win, 4chan users also lauded the proposal and in turn claimed to have created their own fake ads selling mailboxes. Other 4chan threads later popped up pushing the campaign, with users claiming people on Craigslist fell for the ads. One user wrote that they wanted to “bait journalists” with the ads, and another user suggested that a local Cleveland, Ohio outlet had fallen for the troll campaign.
In recent months, message board users have launched other trolling campaigns, such as manipulating the “dislike” ratings on YouTube videos about the 2020 Democratic National Convention, conducting multiple “Zoombombing” attempts, and trying to sabotage Pennsylvania’s efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.