As we find ourselves immersed ever further into the digital realm these days, there is a renewed concern over just what percentage of our internet input is authentic.
The world wide web has been a massive catalyst in the conspiracy theory community, as armchair sleuths are able to share cockamamy hypotheses with one another in real time.
Furthermore, the ability to use the pseudo-anonymity of the internet to espouse beliefs that you may not even hold has been diluting the information pool for decades now. In a matter of minutes, you can sign up for a Twitter account, throw a profile photo up, and be trending…for better or worse.
And, thanks to the flippancy in which we use the internet, there are no shortage of people who have found that there’s money in being malleable with your accounts. After all, these are just accounts, and not necessarily indicative of the reality IRL.
In this wild west of words, one political organization has now been accused of poisoning the well.
Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, a prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, according to four people with independent knowledge of the effort. Their descriptions were confirmed by detailed notes from relatives of one of the teenagers who recorded conversations with him about the efforts.
The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA’s website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity.
In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for “platform manipulation and spam.” Facebook also deactivated a number of accounts as part of what the company said is an ongoing investigation.
Twitter’s censorship of conservative voices has been well-documented in 2020, and these suspensions come from a flimsy defense, leading many to believe that this is just another case of the platform’s progressive panic.
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