So you know about the Russian bots infesting social media, throughout the election season… usually stumping for Trump.
The infamous egg people, in some instances, morphed into more advanced accounts, and now some of those names are coming out.
After 11 months, and multiple warnings (including from the actual Tennessee Republican Party), an account that claimed to represent the Tennessee GOP has been clipped.
The account, @TEN_GOP, was enormously popular, amassing at least 136,000 followers between its creation in November 2015 and when Twitter shut it down in August, according to a snapshot of the account captured by the Internet Archive just before the account was “permanently suspended.”
Some of its tweets were deliberately outrageous, the archive shows, such as one in December 2016 that claimed that unarmed black men killed by police officers deserved their fate. It also trafficked in deliberate fake news, claiming just before it was shut down that a photo of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship parade was actually a crowd waiting to hear Donald Trump speak.
The account was started by a Kremlin-linked internet “troll farm” called Russia’s Internet Research Agency. They poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the 2016 election, and around 100 people, all for the purpose of controlling the political climate in the U.S.
The actual Tennessee Republican Party tried unsuccessfully for months to get Twitter to shut @TEN_GOP down.
“It was in no way affiliated with our office,” Candice Dawkins, the real Tennessee Republican Party’s communications director, told BuzzFeed News. “It was very misleading.”
On three separate occasions — Sept. 17, 2016, March 1, 2017, and Aug. 14, 2017 — the Tennessee GOP reported the fake account to Twitter for impersonating it, according to email correspondence that Dawkins shared with BuzzFeed News.
In February, the account finally changed its Twitter bio to reflect that it wasn’t the official account of the Tennessee GOP.
The account was shut down in mid- to late August.
It certainly fooled enough people into believing the outrageous, inflammatory, and fake news it routinely posted.
Jack Posobiec, a rabidly pro-Trump “internet activist,” was outraged when the account was temporarily suspended back in July of this year.
Faced with this new revelation, Posobiec backed up, saying we needed to do more to understand their tactics.
Yeah, we’re trying, but every time a new nugget of information comes out, you guys scream, “Fake news!”
Posobiec, whose Twitter page identifies him as political director of a political action committee “dedicated to overhauling the GOP,” has been a frequent and harsh critic of the various probes into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. In April, he released a video railing against the idea Russians had meddled in the election.
“The left and the mainstream media have repeated the same refrain: that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump not because any fault of her own, but that Russia meddled with the US election somehow,” he said in the video, before citing a CNN poll that said 58% of Americans didn’t think Russia had changed vote totals.
Now, can somebody tell us what happened to PRNTLY?