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Russian provocateurs on Facebook.

Have you ever wondered why Trump supporters and Bernie Bros were so intractable and angry last year? We might have part of the answer. CNN Money reports that Russian agents set up accounts on Facebook to crank up the anger and incite violence.

It’s chilling because we now have a combustible combination of highly partisan tribes with access to unlimited guns and ammunition who only needed a reason to take their shit out on refugees, immigrants and liberals.

Here is the impact:

Mark R. Jacobson, a Georgetown University professor and expert on Russian influence operations, said Russia strategically seeks to undermine U.S. political cohesion by promoting extremist views within opposing political or social groups, and hoping chaos—and violence — ensues.

“The Russians don’t want groups like Black Lives Matter [and] the Alt-Right to sit there and have discussions and debates about the future of America. They want violent clashes,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson noted that, during the Cold War, Russia sought to enhance extremist ideas within the civil rights movement in hopes of sparking race-based warfare in the U.S.

“If we start to see violent rallies… we should start to look for the hidden hand of Russian influence behind it,” he said.

Columbia University’s Albright said even if only a fraction of the accounts’ posts called for physical violence, the overall messaging sought to push audiences toward more radical viewpoints that they would act on.

“These posts contained psychological calls to action toward both online and physical behavior,” he said.

Some of the violent posts received tens of thousands of likes, comments, shares, or reactions, according to a database of messages Albright compiled from six now-deleted Russia-linked accounts, which included the accounts that posted the violent messages reviewed by CNN.

One post by Secured Borders shared in October 2016, which was interacted with more than 100,000 times, stated, “if Killary wins there will be riots nationwide, not seen since the times of Revolutionary war!!”

And that, sports fans, is why we want to tear each other apart.

In other words, “divided we fall”, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” and

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

The Russians have largely succeeded at turning us against ourselves.

Someone should check with Rush and Alex Jones to see who’s paying them.

By the way, one of the reasons I frown on buzzwords like neoliberal, corporatist and Warhawk is because they tend to divide the left and no one can precisely define what these words mean except they are something bad and when you throw them at a candidate, they tend to stick. If you can’t define those words, don’t use them. They’re mental shortcuts, focus group tested to suck you in without thinking too hard.

And if you’re on the interwebs on a site that slings buzzwords around like crazy, buyer beware. Someone is probably trying to sell you discord.

*********************************

In other news, Donald Trump is talking about George Papadopoulos so tenderly, calling him a “proven to be a liar”.

Well that’s one man’s opinion. Robert Mueller doesn’t see it that way. But we do know a couple things about George Papadopoulos:

He knows when to keep his mouth shut and HE’S not going to jail for colluding with the Russians.

He can be taught.

Donald? Ehhhhhh, not so much.

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6 Responses

  1. I am very fearful of what these SM platforms will do, not just here but in third world countries. I have been reading the havoc caused by WhatsApp (FB owns it) related to Rohingya refugees situation in Myanmar. I know countries like India could face problems if not already because of this digital tinderbox.

    • Yes, we have got to get a handle on all this stuff but I’m not sure how.

      • The fear is about the corrupt Trump and his ilk that populate the world. They will use these platforms for nefarious purposes which have large scale consequences and repercussions than my friend or peer starting some nasty rumor about me on SM. How do the companies contain and constrain state actors and corrupt players abusing these platforms, the Alex Jones, the Trumps, the Limbaughs, the Foxes? It is notable that at least in America, it is all one sided right now and easy to nip it. I think it is possible to find creative solution for that which does not infringe on 1st amendment and the companies should be doing it right now. Treat it like other inadmissible information dissemination for starters.

  2. Nice to see the Russkies do fail sometimes. From Wonkette.

    https://wonkette.com/625079/russia-tried-to-start-a-black-war-on-christmas-and-it-was-adorable

  3. Off topic: Both Fluttershys get into the spirit of the season.

  4. Alice Margatroid and her animated dolls make pumpkin cookies.

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