The EDL, and the rest of the far-right, like to try and intimidate anti-fascists by spreading their details around. But they can only do this to you if they know who you are. Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of the EDL finding out anything about you:
Don’t attract their attention
Most of the far-right’s intelligence gathering is just paying attention to public facebook pages and events, and other public internet conversations like ones on twitter. If you avoid posting in these, it’s much less likely that they’ll pay any attention to you. As a general rule, we would suggest never posting on EDL or other far-right pages – you’re not likely to talk anyone out of being a racist in a heated internet argument, but doing so will make you very visible to the opposition. We would also suggest not posting on publicly viewable anti-fascist pages or in anti-fascist events. If you’ve got something to say to us, that’s great and we’d love to hear from you, but if you send a private message to the Sheffield Anti-Fascist Network page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org then you can get in touch with us without the EDL listening in to the conversation.
Limit the amount they can find out
If the EDL do find out you’re an anti-fascist, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Many activists prefer to use a false name and a profile picture that doesn’t show their real face. Having racists post pictures of your face and your full name can be very intimidating; having them post a name you don’t use outside of facebook, with no picture of you attached to it, is a lot less scary. (These tips also apply to twitter.)
Check your privacy settings
By going to the small cog icon at the top right hand corner of your page, you can check your privacy settings to make sure that only people you’re friends with can see what you post, and pictures you’re tagged in. It’s a good idea to make sure that you set as much content as possible to friends only, both to hide it from the far-right and other people you might want to keep it hidden from, like current and future employers.
Be wary of dodgy requests
One method that fascists use to gather more information on their opponents is to set up fake profiles to add people with. In general, we’d suggest not accepting any friend requests unless you actually know who they are. If you’re not sure, you could try messaging them to ask where you know them from. If you have mutual friends with the person adding you, ask your friends whether they know this person – if they’re real, your friends can reassure you, and if it is a fake profile, you’ll be doing them a favour by warning them.
None of these tips can guarantee 100% safety, but they will greatly reduce the risk of the far-right being able to find out anything about you. By keeping our identities hidden from the EDL and other fascists, we can safely get on with the real work of building an effective anti-fascist movement that will make it impossible for them to operate.