Users on the anonymous forum 4chan encouraged others to trick Twitter users into publicly outing themselves as undocumented immigrants in the United States so they could be reported to the federal government for deportation.
On January 21, 4chan users responded en masse to a post on the website’s “Politically Incorrect” forum that contained an alleged screenshot of a nonexistent CNN story that said President Donald Trump created a website to “report illegal immigrants.” The faux screengrab also contained an image of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tip form. Several users suggested using Twitter searches to find Twitter accounts belonging to undocumented immigrants and using those tweets to report people for deportation.
On January 26, users on the message board announced that they planned to get the hashtag “#UndocumentedUnafraid” trending on Twitter in order to trick undocumented immigrants into admitting their status so 4chan members could report them to the authorities.
In the now archived thread, 4chan users encouraged trying to “bait them into revealing their location.” One user even suggested making up “a fake pro-immigration organization” that could “put up a $500 scholarship for undocumented students” so that people would “admit to being illegal explicitly.” The user claimed that if “the bar was low enough,” someone could “easily catch hundreds and get their contact info.” Another user added, “Don't be cucks this is easy damage.”
Even with the increased attention, organizers on the forum still encouraged users to “keep it going” because “even if they warn people about it, there will be people who take the bait once the Hashtag is trending.”
4chan users on the “Politically Incorrect” message board have a history of hyping fake news stories and engaging in online harassment. In 2016, users on the board played an instrumental role in the propagation of the debunked “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which ultimately prompted an man to fire a gun inside a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. More recently, users have targeted actor Shia LaBeouf for his livestream anti-Trump protest project “He Will Not Divide Us” by “harassing anti-Trump protesters as they appear on the stream” and “threaten[ing] LaBeouf directly.”