On the Internet, the 2016 elections have been characterized by fake news, meme warfare and rampant misinformation.
Why? In part, for the “lulz.”
As The Post’s Caitlin Dewey explained last week, “lulz” are the troll version of schadenfreude: joy or entertainment at the expense of someone else.
And it’s one of the driving forces behind some of the viral fakery we’ve been seeing over the past several months:
From the earliest days of his campaign, Donald Trump has been buoyed by a contingent of 4chan devotees who pass around memes, swastikas and campaign slogans with the same winking irreverence. Their pursuit of lulz is explicit: They trend hashtags like #Repealthe19thand #DraftOurDaughters to “trigger” feminists; they juxtapose Stars of David with pictures of Clinton to — in the word’s of one troll’s Twitter bio — “offend you if you are Liberal, Politically Correct, Feminist, Democrat or Piers Morgan.”
With the election looming, the viral fakery has received unprecedented attention from politicians and the media.
For trolls who seek lulz, there’s been no better time to be on the Internet.