Another batch of Fraudulent, pro Trump Social Media Manipulators are Identified and Removed, for now
In blog posts from Twitter and Facebook the removal of a large number of fake accounts and actors were announced. On Twitter the number of accounts was nearly six thousand which were part of a larger network of 88,000.
The announcements were detailed and each provided data on the techniques used, including the use of A.I. generated photos. The Twitter accounts were also confirmed to be Saudi-Backed and propagated by a social media “marketing” company called Smaat that was operating on behalf of the Saudi State.
All related parties have been banned, although it is hard to imagine that it will be difficult for them to resume a similar campaign behind a different front. The blog posts appear to be an effort, at the least, to show that the companies are attempting to monitor this kind of dangerous propaganda.
“We exist to serve the public conversation around the world. To this end, we’ll continue to take strong enforcement action against any state-backed information campaigns which undermine our company’s mission, principles, and policies.”– Twitter blog Post
As for Facebook and Instagram, the “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior” that was removed was said to originate in Vietnam, Georgia and the U.S. Georgia, of course is the former Soviet republic that Trump was in negotiations with, around 2012, to build an eponymous tower (with help, allegedly, from Russia).
Vietnam, on the other hand, is the communist country alleged to be a likely cover for Chinese and Anti-Chinese actors. In this case Facebook has linked the activity to a company called BL which Facebook connected to the Epoch Media Group. These groups manipulated content using coordinated inauthentic behavior, spam and misrepresentation as well as other activities that violate Facebook and Instagram policies.
All parties involved have been permanently banned. In total, again according to the blog post, the various parties in each network spent approximately $10 million on advertising, using various currencies, including $US, Korean Won, Vietnamese dong, Indonesian rupiah, Australian dollars, the New Taiwan dollars and Canadian dollars.
It has become clear, in part through investigations during the Trump Impeachment hearings, that international interference in U.S. politics, far from being on the wane after the Russian pro-Trump interference in the 2016 elections, is set for a potential explosion into 2020.
The concept that appears to be going through the minds of nefarious actors across the globe is: “if it worked once, why not continue and expand”. Regardless of a provable, direct connection to Trump, there are many interested international parties that have agendas that allign with a Trump victory in 2020.
Deeper Issues Arise as this Example is Likely Just the Tip of the Iceberg
As many have pointed out, Trump faces possible prosecution and incarceration if he fails to win the 2020 election, so the stakes are very high indeed. That, combined with an obvious disregard for rules or laws of political campaigns, let allow social media, there will undoubtedly be many more instances of fraud and “inauthentic behavoir” from here on out.
This is exactly the issue that Democrats pointed during the impeachment process and which made impeachment not only necessary but a requirement. Based on the circumstances clearly indicating that Trump is likely to repeat or attempt to repeat the same actions and behaviors, including high crimes and misdemeanors, and encourage, if not engage in actions such as the Russian interference that got him elected in 2016.
“Shall the man who has practiced corruption & by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment, by repeating his guilt?”
— GEORGE MASON IN A DEBATE ALSO ATTENDED BY JAMES MADISON, JULY 20TH, 1787
Now, the billion dollar question is, if social media companies doing voluntary self-policing, turning down tens of millions of dollars (if not far more) in advertising revenue, and spending on departments and programs dedicated to monitoring this fraudulent spam and worse, can be counted on to do all of this and more for our benefit?
After Facebook refused to take down a political ad, paid for by Trump backers, known to be false, and not significantly different from the bogus content that Facebook reported today by foreign actors, can they be trusted to thoroughly and adequately monitor such massive networks and remove offenders before more damage has been done?
And what of the life of lies, such as imaginary “investigations” that keep cropping up against Democratic candidates that are potentially running against Trump in 2020?
The example posted by Facebook invents an investigation into Elizabeth Warren and another related to Nancy Pelosi, goes on even after the accounts are deleted and banned. I had seen the anti-Warren fabrication on twitter and, disregarded it, as it seemed superficial and implausible, yet now it is also proven be not only fake and fabricated but posted by foreign criminal actors with a pro Trump agenda.
This brings up the larger issue, one of reader and prospective voter sophistication. The huge question that arises over and over, as the Trump lies and crimes are cataloged and ajudicated, is how anyone could believe this man, let alone believe in him.
The answer is, unfortunately, sad and depressing for our future. Just as Hitler was accepted and even loved by most of the German population before he ultimately led them and himself to a dead end, the blind belief and naive “loyalty” of people can never be overestimated.
Those ridiculous stories about Ukraine conspiracies spread by Putin and propagated by Trump himself and then on to his various followers, themselves both imaginary and some real (but hypnotized and deluded), will likely still be quoted by fools and evil, self-serving sycophants for years to come.
That is, unless the 180 million plus Americans, and their allies around the world, who know better and see the danger that Trump represents in all its horror, find a way to drown the lies in an even larger deluge of real news. And, once rid of this would-be dictator, never let apathy and social media fraud control another election. 2020 preview or fantasy from neverland?
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