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A Comedian Figured Out A Way To Hijack A Bunch Of Of Right-Wing Facebook Groups

"Those who can’t maintain a Facebook group won’t be able to maintain an entire country."

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Shahak Shapira is an Israeli comedian and artist based in Berlin. He gained international attention last year with his project The Yolocaust.

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The Yolocaust was an art project that combined selfies taken at Berlin's Holocaust Memorial site with photos from the Holocaust.

Earlier this month, Shapira announced that he had collaborated on a project with Germany's satirical political party Die Partei, or The Party, for which he is now the "minister of propaganda."

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Die Partei was founded in 2004. It is mainly apolitical, although it has most recently adopted a stance against the far right.

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Shapira says in his video that Anne Teska and Benjamin Haupt, both AfD members, were found to be moderating and administrating most of these groups.

According to Shapira, the groups were mostly populated by Facebook bots that would friend real people to pull them into the group. Once the bot friended someone, the real account would be invited into one of these secret groups, which caused Facebook’s algorithm to spam them with right-wing content.

Last November, Shapira and his group made fake accounts that appeared to support right-wing ideas.

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They began befriending members of these groups and got invited in. Then, according to Shapira, they reported the admins to Facebook and got them kicked out. Slowly, by doing this, they were made admins of the groups.

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After becoming admins, they made the pages public, changed their names, and changed the kind of content being posted there — essentially, changing these groups to pro-Die Partei groups. One page named "Homeland love" became "Hummus love."

Shapira told BuzzFeed News that the stunt got him doxed by far-right supporters, but he believes he did the right thing.

"We informed the people in the groups about what was going on," he said. "Most of them probably didn’t want to believe it or listen to us liberals, but maybe a few of them did without admitting it. And last but not least, we stopped a 180,000 members–large network of hatred and propaganda."

Despite months of work to infiltrate the pages, Shapira said his attempts to bring down the AfD stopped here.

"I think at this point, you can’t talk your way out of supporting the AfD by claiming you didn’t know what they’re really about," he said. "The politicians of the AfD are either neo-Nazis or people who tolerate neo-Nazis in their own party, and if you vote for them, you’re probably also one of the above."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the AfD and Facebook for comment.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

Contact Tobias Schmutzler at tobias.schmutzler@buzzfeed.com.

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