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You’re Not Alone: Social Media Is More Toxic Than Ever

Disinformation campaigns from the 2018 midterms appear to be back to create division, chaos and confusion — targeting candidates for the Democratic Party 2020 nomination.
You’re Not Alone: Social Media Is More Toxic Than Ever
Image from: Getty Images: NurPhoto

Twitter is horrible on too many levels to count. But lately, after each new candidate announces they are vying for the nomination for the Democratic Party, it seems to have gotten even worse. According to Politico, it HAS.

In an effort to most likely sow division and generate intra-party fighting on social media:

Amarnath Gupta, a research scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California at San Diego who monitors social media activity, said he’s also seen a recent surge in Twitter activity negatively targeting three candidates — O’Rourke, Harris and Warren.

That increased activity includes a rise in the sheer volume of tweets, the rate at which they are being posted and the appearance of “cluster behavior” tied to the three candidates.

Kamala Harris was heavily targeted:

She was also among the most targeted. One widely seen tweet employed racist and sexist stereotypes in an attempt to sensationalize Harris’ relationship with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. That tweet — and subsequent retweets and mentions tied to it — made 8.6 million “potential impressions” online, according to Guardians.ai, an upper limit calculation of the number of people who might have seen it based on the accounts the cluster follows, who follows accounts within the cluster and who has engaged with the tweet.

And Beto O’Rourke:

Another racially-charged tweet was directed at O’Rourke. The Twitter profile of the user where it originated indicates the account was created in May 2018, but it had authored just one tweet since then — in January, when the account announced it had breaking news about the former Texas congressman leaving a message using racist language on an answering machine in the 1990s. That tweet garnered 1.3 million potential impressions on the platform, according to Guardians.ai.

Twitter and Facebook are useful tools to get information, share links to fundraising for candidates, and more. But as I’ve stated many times, we need the numbers to beat Trump and the GOP up and down the ticket in 2020. It’s vital we stay alert and aware.

I know I will be using the block button liberally. And I also know that whoever gets the nomination, I will be doing all I can to help get that person into the Oval Office.

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