The current petition for a second EU “In/Out” referendum has seen hundreds of thousands of signatures created by a script from 4chan.
The petition may have been started by a real person with good intentions, but with over 30,000 votes from Vatican City – a state with a population of approximately 800 – and signatures from North Korea, it’s not a reliable indicator of the people’s wishes.
Tools have made the process simple. It’s possible to input a desired country, name, email address – or use the script to generate all of those details. All confirmation emails are ‘confirmed’ by the script’s code. 4chan users have been bragging about their work.
Over 3.2 million signatures are on the petition, however, Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a second vote on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU.
We have removed about 77,000 signatures which were added fraudulently. We will continue to monitor for suspicious activity.
— Petitions Committee (@HoCpetitions) June 26, 2016
The Petitions Committee has, so far, found 77,000 fraudulently created signatures, but it’s expected that many more will be found over the next few days – and 4chan shows no signs of slowing down the campaign.
The two main tools used are custom scripts made by the community and a tool called mooter. The latter is being used by both 4chan and Anonymous.
4chan has manipulated online petitions and votes in the past, including rigging Time magazine’s 100 list to put 21-year-old Christopher Poole, also known as “moot,” in the number one position. Poole founded 4chan and later sold it.
One post describes the methodology used to avoid fake detail detection: “Another challenge faced by the autovoters was that if you voted for the same person more often than once every 13 seconds, your IP would be banned from voting.
However, it was noticed that you could cycle through votes for other candidates during those 13 seconds. The autovoters quickly adapted to take advantage of this loophole interleaving up-votes for moot with down-votes for the competition ensuring that no candidate received a vote more frequently than once every 13 seconds, while maximizing the voting leverage.”