On Monday, a 19-year-old man from the US city of Chicago was arrested after allegedly threatening to “slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor” in the area of an abortion clinic. The threats were reportedly made on iFunny, and he is the second young man this month to be charged over violent comments on the meme-sharing site.
The teen, Farhan Sheikh, who allegedly went by the iFunny username “awarded,” is accused of referencing an abortion clinic just four miles from his home, Buzzfeed reports. “I am done with my state and thier bullshit abortion laws and allowing innocrnt kids to be slaughtered for the so called ‘womans right’ bullshit,” the post read, according to court documents. “Ive seen nothing but whores go out of the way to get an abortion, but no more.”
A post by awarded reportedly referenced “ArmyofChrist,” another iFunny user. On 13th August, 18-year-old Justin Olsen was arrested for threatening posts he allegedly sent using the ArmyofChrist account, which had over 5,000 subscribers. According to the New York Times, authorities say they found 15 rifles, 10 pistols, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the home where Olsen was living. ArmyofChrist similarly posted about mass shootings targeting Planned Parenthood on the image-sharing site, Buzzfeed reports.
“The[y] arrested armyofchrist for no reason except suppressing us and our freedoms,” awarded reportedly wrote on iFunny. “I will do the same to these fucking whores who think its a ‘freedom’ to murder an innocent life. come after me you degenerate government puppets, stop me if you can...”
In court documents, authorities say Sheikh confirmed he had “said those things” and claimed that the date and clinic referenced were chosen at random. Sheikh allegedly told agents at the time of his arrest that he thought they were there because of jokes he posted on the meme-sharing site, the New York Times reports. According to authorities, Olsen similarly claimed he was joking.
“I am NOT a satirical account,” awarded’s iFunny reportedly post read. “I post what I mean, and I WILL carry out what I post.”
While Sheikh and Olsen’s arrests are recent, a BuzzFeed report from last week found that iFunny, which has been around since 2011, is a cesspool for far-right extremism, with hateful, racist, and violent posts not unlike the ones the two teens were charged over this month.
“I’ve been using iFunny since it came out in 2011,” an anonymous user told BuzzFeed. “These kind of things really picked up at the height of offensive conservative counterculture in 2016. I guess the ideas remained for a lot of the underground users, so as time went on they evolved to have a community that was similar to 8chan.”
And while iFunny appears to be just the latest social platform online to host hateful and radicalised users, such threats have become alarmingly common across the US. Since the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio earlier this month, at least 27 people have been arrested for threats to commit similar acts of mass violence, CNN reports.
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