Has this Australian Facebook group been cat fishing politically?
A Facebook group is facing allegations of political chat fishing because it is named after a series of political opinions and trend movements, notably for, and then against, blockades.
Freedom Rally Australia is a Facebook group that currently posts and shares content promoting anti-containment rallies across the country. As in, the same rallies where people allegedly threatened to hang the Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews (extreme yuck).
The group was first formed in 2013. However, if you look at their About page, it looks like they weren’t always against blocks.
In March 2020, the group appeared to be in favor of lockdowns when they introduced themselves as “STAYTHEFUCKHOMEAUSTRALIA”. Before that, they changed their name to “Crisis Help Info Australia Wide”.
In April 2020, they became âMade and Owned in Australia Support Groupâ. In August of this year, they were “Western Australian Preppers” – just a few occasional words from Doomsday. Then on October 21, they named themselves after the Cleo Smith case – “Bring Cleo Home” – before changing it to “Freedom Rally Australia”.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this screenshot of their Facebook group history, which is visible to anyone, including people who aren’t in the group. The screenshot was first reported to us by the 7News Perth reporter Ben downie to Twitter who described the group’s history as “Nudently opportunistic”.
In the about the Facebook group section, a spokesperson for the now-named “Freedom Rally Australia” defended his decision to name himself previously after the Cleo Smith case and encouraged previous members who were not from agreement with the new subjects associated with the group. leave.
“Why has the name changed? This group had several names in the past before becoming “Bring Cleo Home”. When she disappeared [the] The admin felt he could help the family with an existing group as a platform with WA members, so the name was temporarily changed.
âAfter this change, a member advised [the] administrator [that] there was already a group for her. This group link was shared and pinned as an ad, and it was paused.
Then they changed their name to support anti-containment and anti-vaccine rallies held across the country.
Interestingly, their about page doesn’t address the fact that they previously operated under the name “STAYTHEFUCKHOMEAUSTRALIA” – whose name aggressively suggests to me that they were once pro-foreclosure.
Seeing this raises some questions. Who is behind this group? What are their real views and are they just taking advantage of the prevailing attitude at the time with each name change? If you ask me, the simple fact that they went from seemingly pro-lockdown in March 2020 to anti-lockdown a good 16 months later, and also jumped on several social issues and trending hot topics, gets me involved. that they could have been politically greedy for influence or for some ~ other reason ~.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted Facebook and the group administrator for comment, but they did not respond at time of posting.
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Image: Getty Images / [Vasily Pindyurin]