RIP Woolwich Soldier’: over a million people may have accidentally ‘liked’ a covert EDL Facebook page
Over a million people may have “liked” a covert EDL Facebook page
Since the Woolwich attack, far-Right groups like the English Defence League (EDL) have hugely magnified their presence online, in an effort to harness public anger. This has largely been successful; their Facebook page has received thousands of new “likes”, and their Twitter account has garnered many new followers.
However, it is possible that they are also using covert means. A Facebook page entitled RIP Woolwich Soldier has sprung up, and so far has accumulated 1.1 million “likes”. Some of my friends have “liked” it, and probably some of yours. There is no hard-and-fast evidence that this page is actually run by the EDL. However, there are various indications that this may be so.
For one thing, the design of the page, which is heavily dominated by a shimmering Union Flag, is very similar to the official EDL Facebook page.
Moreover, the first post on the page was “Time for the people who want to be apart of Britain to stand up against those who want to destroy us!” Not only does this seem to be of a piece with your average typical EDL call to arms, both in tone and in substance, but it also contains a prominent typo, which has emerged as the fingerprint of the EDL (recent examples include “never submit to Aslan”, rather than “Islam”).
Most significantly, the first organisation that the “RIP Woolwich Soldier” page “liked” was the official page of the English Defence League.
If you have visited the page and pressed the “like” button, RIP Woolwich Soldier updates will from now on appear on your timeline. Most Facebook accounts have a whole host of pages that the owner has “liked” in the past and neglected to “unlike”; from time to time, an update appears from a page you have completely forgotten about.
In other words, 1.1 million people have now made their names available to the owner of the RIP Woolwich Soldier page, and opened their timelines to his or her messages.
It may be that this unidentified owner is not officially linked to the EDL, but just harbours an affection for it. It could be, on the other hand, that the page is run by EDL activists, or even the EDL leadership.
Either way, it is possible that if you’ve “liked” RIP Woolwich Soldier, you may have unwittingly “liked” the EDL.