Posted on October 18, 2023

Twitter User Douglass Mackey Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison

Libby Emmons, Post Millennial, October 18, 2023

Meme-maker Douglass Mackey was sentenced in New York criminal court on Wednesday after a March conviction for conspiracy against rights, ie election interference, over memes he created during the 2016 presidential election that disparaged Hillary Clinton.

Mackey was sentenced to 7 months in prison for the crime of making memes the DOJ didn’t think were funny. A fundraiser has been launched for his ongoing legal defense.

The case was heard in the US Court of the Eastern District of New York. Mackey, who was known as Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, was found guilty of the federal charge after making memes that jokingly encouraged Hillary Clinton supporters to cast their votes via text mesage. {snip} There was no evidence to suggest that any voter attempted to cast their ballot via text in response to Mackey’s meme.


The meme that Mackey was convicted of disseminating was directed at Hillary Clinton voters, but other memes, also instructing people to vote for president via text, were distributed by social media users telling people to cast their vote for Trump via text. {snip}

The case is, as the New York Times reported at the time, was “the first criminal case in the country involving voter suppression through the spread of disinformation on Twitter.”

The DOJ claimed that the meme from Mackey constituted election interference, and the court agreed, despite their being no evidence to support the notion that anyone who saw the meme was deceived by it. Mackey argued that he was simply trying to create a viral meme, and that other Clinton supporters had posted similar memes encouraging Trump supporters to vote by text without consequence.