A Twitter account dedicated to calling out racism identified people who attended the rally using photos culled from the news and social media and listed their places of employment and other information.
“I’m a white Jewish man. So I strongly believe that white people in particular have a responsibility to stand up against bigotry because bigotry thrives on silence,” the creator of the account, Logan Smith of Raleigh, North Carolina, told The Associated Press.
Using the handle @YesYoureRacist, his account grew from around 64,000 followers on Saturday to more than 300,000 by Monday afternoon. A website created Sunday dedicated itself to collecting the names, social media profiles, colleges and employers of people photographed at the rally. At least one person has lost his job as a result. Together, the efforts showed that angry online groups can be used to renounce racism as well as promote it.
“The goal with online shaming is very short term and driven by people’s desire to feel as if they are fighting back and having an impact,” said Brian Reich, who’s written several books on digital communications, behavior and political influence. “They are afraid, appalled and they want to stop it.”
But is it helpful? Reich said the people behind these efforts “are arguably fanning the flames,” giving attention to a group – white supremacists – that feeds on attention.