What: A classic hashtag takeover situation.
Who: Fans of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are blessed with very cute animal friends.
Why we care: Earlier this week, progressive, youthful star of the Democratic Party continued her mission to get out the full implications of the Capitol siege to the widest audience possible. Her approach, which most recently involved her disclosing that she is a survivor of sexual assault, is a corrective to the message on the right that the attack on January 6 was ultimately not such a big deal. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the far-right messaging machine has responded by attempting to discredit Ocasio-Cortez.
This is the latest manipulative take on the right.
They are manipulating the fact that most people don’t know the layout the Capitol complex.
We were all on the Capitol complex – the attack wasn’t just on the dome.
The bombs Trump supporters planted surrounded our offices too. pic.twitter.com/jI18e0XRrd
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 3, 2021
The distorted message that AOC “wasn’t in the Capitol Building” on the day of the attack immediately took off in certain dank corners of the conservative internet, where no counter-narrative is too farfetched to immediately and desperately latch onto.
No sooner did the hashtag #AOClied begin to take off on Wednesday afternoon, however, than it was taken over by Ocasio-Cortez defenders posting pictures of their adorable pets.
— Robert Durlak (@rdurlak) February 4, 2021
@AOC is the far-right’s biggest fear; a strong, powerful, progressive Extremely Intelligent woman and I fucking love it!
And everything AOC has said is the truth and we believe survivor's.
#AOClied (no she didn't!!!!!)
Anyway here's a picture of my dog ???? pic.twitter.com/HrNvi8rNRl
— Mlandukid (@mlandukid) February 4, 2021
— Nicole Wiseman (@mrswise1107) February 4, 2021
— EleanorNeedham (@needham_eleanor) February 4, 2021
My dog actually is the cutest. pic.twitter.com/uRI8F2L4vr
— Stig (@StigIrish) February 4, 2021
Those who tried to draw attention to the congressperson’s supposed perfidy only ended up drawing attention to a collection of good boys and fluffernuggets. It was one of the most prominent hashtag takeovers since LGBTQ couples claimed ownership of the #ProudBoys after Trump raised the extremist group’s profile last October.
Of course, what bit of political Twitter trickery would be complete without the social justice wing of the K-pop coalition? Once a second hashtag, #AOCSmollett—which compares the congressperson with noted danger-fabricator Jussie Smollett—began taking off, K-pop stans rushed in to take that one over as well.
— Shamarah Diana (@MsShamarah) February 4, 2021
— LMM (@moon_moob2) February 4, 2021
— Beto (@Albret44) February 3, 2021
Although Ocasio-Cortez has already well established that she can hold her own in a Twitter battle, and continues to establish it in this latest situation, the hashtag takeover proves that an online anti-troll army is ever standing by to fight on her behalf.