Nebraska officials succeeded in locating a person responsible for creating a false Craigslist ad claiming that the Antifa was offering money to people for protests in two cities in the state.
The post was made public in June after screenshots of it were distributed in social media, even after the original ad was deleted after only a few hours.
The announcement read “Demonstrators needed” before claiming that the extreme left movement was offering to “pay up to 1,000 people in Lincoln (Northeast Asia) and Omaha (Northeast Asia) $25 per hour for protesters.
“Basically, we want to cause as much chaos and destruction as possible,” the ad said.
“This will happen every night through the BLM protest on June 13. You will be paid every night and you can come and go as you please.
“We want chaos to advance our agenda.”
The “Lincoln Journal Star” reports that a 33-year-old Lincoln man confirmed that he created the hoax after an investigation by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
The man was visited by the Sheriff’s Office and the FBI in October. The 33-year-old, a registered Republican, confirmed that he had never paid anyone to attend a protest or create a disturbance and that he “did not want to create violence or disturbance,” said Chief Deputy Ben Houchin.
The man said he did not know that the ad would end up causing such a stir.
Officials say the man was told it was “not funny,” KETV reported.
Houchin said the man would not be charged because there was no evidence that he intended to cause violence or paid someone to do so. They considered sentencing him for disturbing the peace or arresting him for inciting a riot, but decided against it and closed the case.
Houchin said the incident was an example of what can happen when people don’t think before they post online.
“Even if you’re just angry or just find it funny or whatever, it has a real impact on the future and could cause unforeseen damage,” he told The Star.
The fact-checking website Snopes declared the ad a hoax in June. Reuters made a similar decision for an almost identical ad, looking for paid actors in Phoenix, Arizona, that same month.
There were fears that the ad might be legitimate in Nebraska, although the formal listing claimed to have been written by a radical anarchist movement.
Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang warned even local businesses of possible unrest, but admitted that “there is no concrete evidence or organized plans that we know of that demonstrators are in Beatrice,” The Star reported.